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% NietD (Sbition, 





329 &, 331 PBARL STREET, 



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H E s-3\ 


Digitized by 


-2 ^^ V 





Cbristiaiiicy peraecQted by the Roman Emperon, 1 

Inqouy into their MotiveBy SL 

BebeDions Spirit of the Jews, ^ 3 

Toleration of the Jewish Religion,. 4 

The Jews were a People which followed, the Christians a Sect 

which deserted, the Religion of their Fathers. b 

Cfhristianity aocosed of Atheism, and mistaken by the People and 

PhikMophera, 7 

The Unkm and Assemblies of the Christians conndered as a da» 

gerons Conspiracy. t 

Their Manners calumniated. il 

Their imprudent Defence. • 11 

Idea of the Conduct of the Emperors tcrwards the Christians. .13 

They neglected the Christians as a Sect of Jews. H 

The Pire of Rome under the Reign of Nero. 16 

CSmel Punishment of the Christians as the Incendiaries of the 

City r 

Remarks on the Passage of Tacitus relative to the Persecution of 

the Christians by Nero, .■ It 

Oppression of the Jews and Christians by Domitian, 29 

Bzecation of Clemens the Consul, 94 

Ignorance of Pliny concerning the Christians. fH 

Tn^*'* '^^ .^i^ Successors establish a legal Mode of proceeding 

against them S7 

Fopolar Clamors. W 

Trial of the Christians W 

Hunanity of the Roman Magistrates. T, 

Digitized by 



4. D. , I • 

Incoufliderablo Number of Martyrs, :^u 

Example of Cyprian, I>isbopof Carthage 34 

His Danger and Flight, 34 

SS7 His Banishment, ^ 39 

His Oondenmation, 3« 

His Martjrrdom, 38 

Various Incitements to Martyrdom, '. 3§ 

Ardor of tdo First Christians, 41 

Gradaal Relaxation, i% 

Throe Methods of escaping Martyrdom, 43 

Alternatives of Severity and Toleration, 49 

The Ten Persecutions, 45 

Supposed Edicts of Tiberius and Marcus Antoninus, 46 

180. State of the Christians in the Eeigns of Commodus and Severus,.. 47 

Sil—249. Of the Successors of Severus 49 

844. Of Maximin, Philip, and Decius, 51 

253—260. Of Valerian, Gallienus, and his Successors, 59 

260. Paul of Samosata, his Manners, 53 

270. He is degraded from the See of Antioch, 54 

274. The Sentence is executed by Aurelian, 56 

2^4—303. Peace and Prosperity of the Church under Diocletian, 56 

Progress of Zeal and Superstition among the Pagans, 58 

Maximian and Galerins punish a few Christian Soldiers, 59 

Galerius prevails on Diocletian to begin a general Persecution,.... 61 

t03. Demolition of the Church of Nicomedia, 63 

The first Edict against the Christians,. 63 

Zeal aod Punishment of a Christian, 65 

Fire of the Palace of Nicomedia imputed to the Chrisdans, 65 

Execution of the first Edict, 66 

Demolition of the Churches, 68 

. Subsequent Edicts. 09 

B09''')ll. General Idea of the Persecution, 70 

In the Western Provinces, under Constantius and Constantino, 70 

In Italy and Africa, under Maximian and Severus 72 

Under Maxentius, 79 

In Illyricum and the East, under Galerius and Maxunian, 74 

91! Galerius publishes an Edict of Toleration, 75 

Peace of the Church, 78 

Maximin preparesto renew the Persecution 77 

3'S End of the Persecutions, .- 71 

Probable Account of the Sufferings of the Mart^Ts and Confessors, 79 

Number of Martyrs, 8S 

CMMdwkm, 84 

Digitized by 






A. 1». PAOB. 

124. Design of a new Capital, £6 

Sitaation of Byzantiam, „ 91 

Descriptidn of Constantinople^ 87 

The.Bosphorus, 68 

The Port. of Constantinople 89 

The Propontis, , 90 

The Hellespont, 91 

Advantages of Constantinople, 93 

roundation of the City, 94 

Its Extent 96 

Progress of the Work 97 

Edifices, 99 

Population, 101 

Privileges, 1 03 

130 or 334. Dedication, 105 

too — 500. Form of Government in the Roman Empire, 106 

Hierarchy of the State, :.... 107 

Three B4mks of Honor, 109 

Four Divisions of Office 109 

L The Consuls, 110 

The Patricians,. , 113 

n. The Praetorian Prasfccts, 114 

The Prsefects of Home and Constantinople, 117 

The Proconsuls, Vice-Prasfects, Sui 119 

The Governors of the Provinces, 120 

The Profession of the Law, 121 

III. The Military Officers, 124 

Distinction of the Troops, 126 

B«duction of the L egions, : 127 

Difficulty of Levies, 129 

Increase of Barharian Auxiliaries, 130 

IV. Seven Ministers of the Palace, .•-.. 131 

LThe Chamberlain. 132 

8. The Master of the Offices, 132 

3. The QusBstor, 1 133 

4. The Public Treasurer, 135 

5. The Private Treasurer, 13e 

0. 7. The Counts of the Domestics, 1 3 < 

A^nts, or Official Spies, .\... 137 

Uie of Torture, t. 194 

rintnoes, !««• 

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The Genera] Tribate or IndictioD, ....•« •••• 141 

Aflsesaediii the Form of a Capitation, 144 

Capitation on Trade and Industry, 14t 

Free Gifta,.. I5t 

Condaaion. , 151 



Character of Constantine, : 153 

HisVutaes, 153 

His Vices, 155 

His Family, 156 

Virtaesof Crispos, 159 

324. Jealousy of Constantine,...! 158 

3S5. Edict of Constantine 159 

326. Disgrace and Death of Crispos, • 160 

The Empress Fansta, , 163 

The Sons and Nephews of Constantixie, 163 

Their Edncation. 164 

Manners of the Barmatians, 166 

TbeiA Settlement near the Dannhe, 166 

331. The Gothic War, 169 

334. Expulsion of the Sarmatians, ., 171 

337. Death and Faneral of Constantine, 173 

Factions of the Court, 173 

Massacre of the Princes, 175 

337. Division of the Empire, v 176 

31(X Sapor, King of Persia* 177 

State of Mesopotamia and Armenia, 179 

342. Death of Tiridates, , 17» 

337-360. The Persian AVar, 18] 

348 Battle of Singara, ..,^-,i... 181 

338. 346. 350. Siege uf Nisihis, ...;.^... 181 

)40. Civil War, and Death of Constantine, 181 

850 Murder of Constans 181 

Mcgnentius and Vetranio assume the Purple, 181 

Constantius refhses to treat, • • IM 

Depoies Vetranio, 19 

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Ml Make* War against MagnentitiB, IIKI 

Battle of Mnrsa, 194 

353. Conqaest of Italy,... 196 

953. Last Defeat and Death of Hagnentins, s^% 



Power of the Eunuchs, 201 

Education of Ghdlas and Julian, 303 

351. GaUna declared CaBsar, a04 

Craelty and Impnidence of Gallos « 804 

t5i Massacre of the imperial Ministers, 206 

Dangeroas Situation of Gallns, 207 

His pisgrace and Death, 208 

The Danger and Escape of Julian, ^ 210 

35& He is sent to Athens, 211 

Recalled to Milan, 212 

Declared Cnsar 214 

Fatal End of Sylvanus, 216 

357. Constantius visits Rome 21G 

Anew Ohelisk, , 218 

357; 358, 359. The Cluadian and Sarmatian War, 219 . 

35& The Persian Negotiation,. ., j 222 

3.'S9. Invasionof Mesopotamia hy Sapor, .; 224 

Siege of Amida, , , 226 

360. Siege of Singara, , 228 

Conduct of the Romans, , 230 

Invasion of Gaul by the Germans, 231 

Conduct of Julian, 233 

356. His first Campaign in Gaul, 234 

357. His second Campaign, 235 

Batde of Strasburgh 237 

358. Julian subdues the Franks, 239 

357, 358, 359. Makes three Expeditions beyond the Rhine, 241 

Restores the Cities of Gaul, ., 242 

Civil Admimst ration of Julian, • 244 

Deaeription of Paris, Blf 

Digitized by 


tin conteKlTS. 



*(N^337. Datcofthe Ckmvcrsion of Cunstanttjte, .«•.. S4I 

His Pagan Superstition, SM 

106 —312. He protects the Christians of Gaul, 25J 

•13. Edict of Milan, '. 25$ 

Use and Beanty of the Christian Morality, S53 

Theory and Practice of passive Obedience *255 

Divine Right of Constantine, '. *256 

f«. Gteneral Edict of Toleration, 257 

Loyalty and Zeal of the Cliristian Party, ; 257 

Expectation and Belief of a Miracle, ..^ 259 

I. The /.alarum, or Standard of the Cross, 260 

II. The Dream of Constantine, 262 

IIL Appearance of a Cross in the Sky, 265 

The Conversion of Constantine might be sincere,. 267 

The fourth Eclogue of Virgil, 269 

Devotion and Privileges of Constantine, 270 

' Delay of his Baptism till the Approach of Death 271 

Propagation of Christianity, 273 

9*8—438. Change of the national Religion, 276 

Distinction of the spiritual and temporal Powers, 277 

State of the Bishops under the Christian Emperors, 279 

I. Election of Bishops, 279 

II. Ordination of the Clergy, 282 

III. Property, 284 

rV. CivilJurisdiction, 287 

V. Spiritual Censures, 289 

VI. Freedom of public Preaching, 291 

Vn. Privilege of legislative Assemblies 2!fS 



912. African Controversy, 297 

1 1 .%. Schism of the Donatists, S98 

The Trinitarian Controversy, 90f 

Digitized by 



A C. PA0B, 

Ma Tlie System of Plata, 301 

The Logos, 306 

500. Taught in tbe School of Alexandria, 30S 

07. Revealed by tbe Apostle St. John, 301 

The Ebionites and Docetes, 307 

Mysterious Nature of the Trinity,. 30S 

Zeal of the Christians, 310 

Authority of the Church, 319 

Factions, 313 

316. Heterodox Opinions of Arins, 313 

Three Systems of the Trinity, 315 

I. Arianism 31^ 

II. Tritheism, 315 

IIL Sabellianism, 316 

325. Council of Nice, 317 

The^Homoousion, 317 

Arian Creeds, 319 

Arian Sects, 321 

Faith of the Western, or Latin, Church, 323 

360. Council of Rimini, 324 

Conduct of the Emperors in the Arian Controversy, 325 

3^4. Indifference of Constantino, ,. 325 

3V'5. His Zeal, 326' 

J!]8 — 337. He persecutes the Arian and the Orthodox Party, 327 

f. 17 — 361. Constantius favors the Arians, 328 

Arian Councils, 330 

Character and Adventures of Athanasius, 332 

V 0. Persecution against Athanasius, -334 

136. His first Exile, 337 

a'il. His second Exile, 338 

ri9. His Restoration, 340 

3 51. Resentment of Constahtias, 341 

. 53 — 355. Councils of Aries and Milan 342 

^55. Condemnation of Athanasius, 344 

Exiles 346 

956. Third Expulsion of Athanasius from Alexandria, 347 

His Behavior, 349 

156—362. His Retreat 350 

Arian Bishops, ^ 353 

Divisions, 354 

I. Rome, 355 

n. Constantinople, 356 

Cm 3lty of the Arians, 350 

45, &c. The Revolt and Fury of the Donatist Circnmce lions, 360 

Their religious Sa ndes, 340 


Digitized by 



aif— 361. Qisnena jUHiancter cxf the Christian 0061% SM 

Toleration of Paganism by Comtandne, • 961 

BylusSoDS, a6f. 



The Jealoasy of Constantios against Jalian, 370 

Feats and Envy of Constantins, 371 

360. The Legions of Gaol are ordered to march into the East, 37i 

Their Discontents, ^ 37^ 

They proclaim Julian Emperor, > 37!> 

His Protestations of Innocence, 377 

His Embassy to Constantins 378 

360,361. His fourth and fifth Expeditions beyond the Bhine, 380 

361. Fmitless Treaty and Declaration of War, 381 

Julian prepares to attack Constantius, 38? 

His March from the Rhine into Elyricum, 38? 

He justifies his Cause 389 

Hostile Preparations, 389 

361. Death of Constantius, 391 

361. Julian enters Constantinople, 399 

361. Is acknowledged by the whole Empire, 393 

His civil Government and private Life, 393 

Reformation of the Palace, ...* '..* 39S 

Chamber of Justice, .'. 398 

Punishment of the Innocent and the Guilty, 399 

Clemency of Julian, 401 

His LoveofFreedom and the Republic 409 

His Care of the Grecian Cities, 401 

Julian, an Orator and a Judge, 403 

His Character. *. 40'* 



Religion of Julian, Ml 

161 Hi« Education and Apostasy, 416 

Digitized by 


CONTB5T8. ]| 

Ho embmoes the Myth jlogy of Paganism, 411 

ThdAHegories,.... 414 

Thedlbgical System of Julian, 41S 

Fanaticism of the Philosophers,. 417 

Initiation and Fanaticism of Julian, 417 

His religions Dissimalation, < 419 

He writes against Christianity, 49t 

HI Universal Toleration ^ 4St 

Kl -*383. Zeal and Devotion of Jolian in the Bestoration of Pagan- 

ism, 491 

Reformation of Paganism 435 

The Philosophers, 427 

Conversions, 429 

The Jews, 431 

Description of Jerosalem, 432 

Pilgrimages, • 433 

363. Julian attempts to rehaild the Temple, 436 

The Enterprise is defeated, 437 

Perhaps by a preternatural Event, «... 438 

Partiality of Julian, 441 

He prohibits the Christians from teaching Schools, 442 

Disgrace and Oppression of the Christians, 444 

They are condemned to restore the Pagan Temples, 445 

The Temple and sacred Grove of Daphne, • 446 

Neglect and Profanation of Daphne, 448 

86'<2. Removal of the dead Bodies, and Conflagration of the Temple,. .. 449 

Julian shuts the Cathedral of Antioch, 450 

George of Cappadocia oppresses Alexandria and Egypt, 451 

»<1. He is massacred by the People, 453 

He is worshipped as a Saint and Martyr, < 453 

1162. Restoration of Athanasias, 455 

He is persecuted and expelled by Julian, 456 

i61— 363. Zeal and Imprudence of the Christians, 458 



The Cssars of Julian, 4n 

lff2. He resolvAs to march against the Pergians 4tfl 

Digitized by 



•> » FACA 

Jiilian prooeedd from Constantmople to And()cli. 464 

Licenliorfs Manners of the People of Antioch, 464 

Their Aversion to Julian, 469 

Scarcity of Com, and pablic Discontent, 466 

Julian composes a Satire against Antioch, 1G8 

114-r^dO. The Sophist Libanius, 46e 

lis March of Julian to the Euphnuesy 47i 

His Design of invading Persia, 47fi 

Disaffection of the King of Armenia, 17a 

Military Preparations 471 

Jolian enters the Persian Territories, tH 

His March over the Desert of Mesopotamia, 476 

His Saocess, «. 478 

Description of Assyria, 476 

J6S. Invasion of Assyria.... • 431 

Siege of Perisabor 48a 

Siege of Maogamalcha, 483 

Personal Behavior of Jnlian, 48S 

He transports his Fleet from the Euphrates to the Tigris, 487 , 

Passage of the Tigris, and Victory of the Romans, 489 

Situation and Obstinacy of Julian, 491 

He bums his Fleet, 493 

Marches against Sapor, 495 

Retreat and Distress of the Roman Army, 497 

Julian is mortally wounded, : 499 

K3 Death of Julian,. 501 

Electionof the Emperor Jovian 503 

• Danger and DiflBculty of the Retreat 505 

Negotiation and Treaty of Peace, 507 

The Weakness and Disgrace of Jovian, 509 

He continues his Retreat to Nisibis, 511 

Universal Clamor against the Treaty of Peace, 512 

Jovian evacuates Nisibis, and restores the Sve Provinces to the 

Persians, 514 

Beflections on the Death of Julian, 6U 

On his Fonenl, Ml 

Digitized by 





t I> rA0B 

353 Stateof tlie Church 519 

JoTiaii piuclaims universal Toleration, 521 

His Progress from Antioch, 529 

S64. Jovian, with his infant Son, assames tlie Name and Ensigns of 

the Consulship, 523 

3«4. Death of Jovian, 523 

Vacancy of tho Throne, 524 

364. Election ana Character of Valentinian, 525 

He is acknowledged by the Army, 527 

Associates his Brother Valens, 528 

364 The final Division of the Eastern and Western Empires, 529 

3C5. Reyoltof Procopius, 530 

366. His Defeat and Death, .' 'S34 

3^3. Severe Inquisition into the Crime of Magic at Rome and An- 
tioch, 535 

364—375. The Cruelty of Valentinian and Valens, 539 

Their Laws and Gk)vemment, 541 

Valentiman maintains the religious Toleration, 543 

367 — 378. Valens professes Arianism, and persecutes the Catholics,. -. 544 

373. Death of Athanasius, 546 

Just Idea of the Persecution of Valens. 546 

370. Valentinian restrains the Avarice of the Clergy 549 

366 — 384. Ambition and Luxury of Damasus, Bishop of Home, 550 

364—375. Foreign Wars, 552 

365. I. Germany. The Alcmanni invade Ghiul, 553 

366. Their Defeat, 554 

368. Valentinian passes, and fortifies, the Bhine, .- 555 

V. The Burgundians, 558 

The Saxons, 559 

II. Britain. The Scots and Picts, 569 

313—366. Their Invasion of Britain, 565 

367—370. Eestoration of Britain by Theodosius. 368 

366. IIL Africa. Tyranny of Romanus 569 

872. Revolt of Fhrmus, , 57j 

37>. Tboodosius recovers Africa 57f 

Digitized by 



A. B. PA0B 

176. Ho ii execatod at Carthage, 573 

State of Africa, 574 

S6*-378. rv. TheBast. The Persi<«n War/ 57« 

IM. The Treaty of Peace, , 579 

Adventareaof Para, King of Armenia. 580 

V. The DufUBE. Conquest of Hermanric, 58S 

I Me. The Cause of the Gothic War, 583 

! in 368,369. Hostilities and Peace, 585 

fit Warof the duadi and Sarmatians, .587 

*'t The Expedition of Valentinian, 589 

His Death. 591 

f be Saperara Oradan and ValoBtfaiiaii II.» 991 

Digitized jDy 









If we seriously consider the purity of the Ohristiaa reli> 
Q^on, the sanctity of its imoral precepts, and the innoceiu as 
well as austere lives of the greater number of Uiose who 
during the first ages embrated^ the faith of the gospel, we 
should naturally suppose,- that so benevolent a doctrine would 
have been received with due reverence, even by the unbeiiev- 

* The sixteeoih cshapter I camurt help oonsideriiig as a very ingenioai 
and spec)oafl» but very disgrac«iizl.exteiiaation of the cruellies j^rpelrated 
by the Roman magistrates against the Christians. It is written m the most 
contemptibly factions spirit of prejadice against the sufferers ; it is unworthy 
of a philosopher and of humanity. Let the iwaratiye of Cyprian's d«db 
be examined. He had to relate tne murder of an innocent man of advanced 
a^e, and in a station deemed venerable by a considerable body of the pro- 
vincials of Africa, put to death because be refhsed to sacrifice to Jupiter. 
Instead of pointing the indignation of posterity against sudi an atrocious act 
of tyranny, he dwells, with visible art, on the small circumstances of de- 
•iorum and politeness which attended this murder, and which he relates 
with as much parade as if they were the most important particulars' of the 

Dr. Robertson has been the subject of much blame for his real or sup^ 
oosed lenity towards the Sponidi mnnlcrers and tyrazts in America. That 
VOL. U. — A 

Digitized by 



log ivorld ; that the learned and the polite, however they maj 
deride the miracles, would have esteemed the virtues, of tfaifl 
new sect ; and that the magistrates, instead of pensecuting, 
would have protected an oidef of m€D who yielddd the most 
passive obedience to the laws, though they declined the active 
cares of war and government If, on the other hand, we reo- 
ollect the universal toleration of Polytheism, as it was invari- 
ably maintained by the &ith of the people, the incredulity of 
pbQosdphersi and the policy of the Komau Senate fmi) emper- 
ors, we aie at a loss to discover what new offence the Chris- 
tians had committed, what new provocation could exasperate 
the mild indifference of antiquity, and what new motives could 
urge the Roman princes, who beheld without concern a thou- 
sand forms of religion subsisting in p«ace under « their gentle 
sway, to inflict a severe punishment on any part of their sub- 
jects, who had chosen for themselves a singular but an inoffen- 
sive mode of j^th and worship. 

The religious policy of the ancient world seems to have 
assumed a more stem and istolerant .character, to oppose the 
progress of Christianity. About fourscore years after the 
death of Christ, his innocent disdples were punished with 
death by the sentence of a proconsid of the most amiabie and 
phibsophio character, and aceording to:tiiahiW8 of an em- 
peror distinguished by the wisdom and justice of kia general 
administration. The apologies which were repeatedly ad- 
dressed to the sndoesscffs of Ttajaa are filled with the most 
pathetic oompkutots, that the GfariitiaBi^ who obeyed the dic- 
tates, and solicited the liberty, of conscience, were alone, 
among aH ^e subjects of the Roman empire, excluded from 
the common beoefits of their auspidmB govemnMBt. The 
deaths of & few eminent martyrs have boen r^onded with 
care ; and from the time that Christianity was invested with 
the supreme power, the governon of the diuroh have been no 
loss diHgently employed in displaying the cruelty, than in im- 
itating the conduct, of their jPagan adversaries. To separate 
^if it be possible) a few authentic as well as interesting facts 
from an undigested mass of fiction and error, and to relate, in 
a dear and rational manner, the causes, the extent, the dura- 
tion, and the most important drciimstancea of the persecutions 

the sixteentli chapter of Mr. G. did not excite liie tHone or mater diisp- 
l»robation, is a proof of the anphilosophical and indeed fanaucalapiinoiity 
•raiiMt Christianity, which was so prevalent dntiilg the latter part of thi« 
«i«fateonth century. -^Matkinioih • see Life. i. p. 244, 845. 

Digitized by 


^£>. 324 J OV. ISIS AOHAK BMPOm. i 

toiriikih tins first Chiiatiiaia 'wen eipoJsed, is iLe design of th« 


The seetanes of a pemecated rel^ion, depressed by fear^ 
aniiBaied with resentment^ and peib^ heated by enthnsiasmi 
are seldom in a ipioper temper lof mind cahnly to investigate^ 
or eandidly to apfiieciate, the motives of their enemies, which 
often ieseape the impartial and disoeming view even of those 
whO' are plaeed at a secure distaaoe from the flames of per- 
seeiition. A reason lias been assigned for the conduct of th« 
emperom towakls the primitive Christians, which may appeal 
the .more specious and probable s& it is drawn from the ac- 
knowledged gemus of Polytheiun. It has already been oV 
served, <£at the reiigious concord of the world was principiUy 
supported by the implicit :a8sent and reverence which the 
nations of antiquity expressed- for their respective traditions 
and ceremonies. It might therefore be expected, that Uiey 
would unite wiiih indi^iation against any sect or people which 
should aeparate itself from the oommnnion of maannd, and 
claiming tiie eifidusive possessioii of divine knowledge, should 
disdain every form of worship, except its own, as impious and 
idolatrous. The rights of tolerati<m w^e held by mutual indnl- 
genoe: they were justly forfeited by a refusal of the accus- 
tomed tribute. As the payment of this tribute was inflexibly 
refused by the Jews^ and by them alone, the eonsiderati^m <^ the 
treatment which they experienced from the Roman magistrates^ 
win serve to expHain bow £» tliese speculations are justafled by 
fiiots, and will lead us to discover the true causes of the perse- 
cution ^f Christianity.^ 

• Without repeating what has thready been mentioned of the 
reverence of the Boman^ princes and governors for^ ike temple 
of Jerusalem, we shall only observe, that the destruction of 
the temple and dty was accompanied and fpflowed by every 

* Tbe Inattey of the first age of Gbrttdanity Ib at^y fjmA ia llie Acts 

qT di<^ apostles, and in order toBpeak of the first peirsQtauoiis eKpcrieuoed 
Vy the Christiaxus, that book shoixld naturallj have been oonsnlted ; thoao 
per^ecations/ then Bmited to individnals and to a narro\/ sphex^ inter* 
csted/Rilv the persecuted, and have been related by them alone. Gibbon, 
Bialdng tfie persecations ascend no bicher than Nero, has entirely omitted 
tbo«& widcfa praeeded ihisepoeii, and of which St Lnke has preserved 
the nemoty. The.only. wur to jnatifytius omissioii was, to attack the 
■nthenticity of the Acts of the Apostles; for, if anthentie, they mnst 
necessarily be consulted and quoted, Now, antiquity has left very few 
wr,fks of which the authenticity is so well established as that of the Acta 
of the Apostles. (See Lardner's Cred. of €k)spel Hist, part iii^ It ia, 
(licrefore, without sufficient reason, that Gibbon has maintained silence 
otnuseromg the narrative of St. Luke, and this omission is not without ixa* 
portance. — G. 

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4 TH£ i»KCLiKS A^'O Jf AU<^ [A. 1). 924 

cucumstaiioe that could exasperaio the minds of the ecMiquer 
ors, and authorize religious persecution by the moat spedoue 
arguments of political justice and the public sa&ty. From 
the re^ of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews disooF- 
ered a fierce impatience of the dolniaion of Bome, which 
repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insur- 
rections. Humanity is shocked at the recital of the honid 
cruelties which they committed in the. cities of Egypt^ of 
Cyprus, and of Gyrene, where they dwelt in tieaoherous friendr 
slup with the unsuspecting natives;^ and we are tempted to 
applaud the severe retaliation which was exerdsed by the arms 
of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose, dire and cred- 
ulous superstition seemed to render them the implacable ene- 
mies not only of the. Roman government, but of human kind* 
The enthusiasm of. the Jews was supported by the opinion, 
that it was unlawful for them to pay taxes to an idolatrous 
master ; and by the flattering promise which they derived 
from their ancient orades, Uiat a conqueiing Messiah would 
soon arise, destined to break thek fetters, and to invest the ii^ 
vorites of heaven with the empire of the earth. It was by aiv- 
nouncin^ himself as their loog-ezpected deliverer, and by call- 
bg OB M the descendants of Abraham to assert the hope of 
Xsrael, that the famous Barchochebas collected, a fonmdable 
army, with which he resisted during two years the power of 
the emperor Hadrian.* . 

Notwithstanding th^ee repeated provocations, the. resent- 
ment of the Roman princes expired after the victory; nor 

* Id Cyrene, they maseacred 280,000 Greelra; in Oypnw, 240,000; 
in ^^^STP% a. very gn^eat multitude. Many of these vaiha.wj victims 
were sawn asunder^ according to a precedent to which Payid had 

fiven the sanction of his example. The victorious Jews devoured the 
esh, licked up the blood, and twisted the entrails like a girdle round 
Oieir bodies. See Dion Cassius, 1. Izviii. p. 1145* 

* Without repeating the well-known narratives of Josephoa, we may 
learn from Dion, (1. bcix. p. 1U2,) that in Hadrian's war 680,000 Jews 
were cut off by the sword, besides an infinite number which perished 
by fiEunine, by disease, and by fire. 

■ For the sect of the Zealots, see Basnage, Histoire des Juife, L L c 
IT ; for the characters of tiie Messiah, acoordii^ to the Rabbis, I. v. c 
U, 12, 13; for the actions of Barchochebas, L vil & 12. (Hist of Jews. 
ulll6,4kc.)— M. 

* Some commentators, among them Eeimar, in his notes on Dion Casdaf 
tbiuk that the hatred of the Romans against die Jews has led the historia* 
to exaggerate the cruelties committed by the latter. Don. Cass. IxvJU.D 
1116.— G. "^ 

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A.D. 334,] OV THE ROIIAS XMFlllB. i 

were their appreiiettnotis confiniied beyond the period of wai 
and danger. B7 the general indulgence of polytheism^ and 
by the niild temper of Antomnns Pius, the Jews were restored 
to their ancient privileges, and once more obtained the permis- 
sion of circumcasing their children, with the easy restraint, that 
they should never confer on any fix'eign proselyte that distin- 
guishing mark of the Hebrew race.* The numerous remains 
of that peo{de, though they were still excluded from the pre- 
cincts of Jerusalem, were permitted to form and to maintain 
eoDsiderable establishments both in Italy and in the provinces, 
to acquire the freedom of Rome,' to enjoy municipal honors, 
and to obtain at the same time an exemption from the bur- 
densome and expensive offices of society. The moderation or 
the contempt of the Romans gave a legal sanction to the form 
of ecclesiastical pdice which was instituted by the vanquished 
sect The patriardi, who had fixed his residence at Tiberias, 
was empowered to appoint his subordinate ministers and 
apostles, td exerdse a domestic jurisdiction, and to receive from 
his disported brethren an annual contribution.* New syna- 
gc^ues were frequently erected in the principal cities of the 
empire; and the sabbaths, the frets, and the festivals, which 
were either commanded by* the Mosaic law, or enjoined by the 
traditions of the Rabbis, were celebrated in the most solemn 
and puUic manner.* Such gentle treatment insensihly assuaged 
the stem teiliper of the Jews. Awakened from their dream of 
prophecy and conquest, they assumed the b^avior of peaceable 
and industrious subjects. Their iirecondlable hatred of man- 
kind, instead of flaming out in acts of blood* and violence, evap- 
orated in less dangerous gratifications. They embraced every 
o{^rtiH)ity of overreaching the idolatere in trade ; and thi^ 
pronounced secret and ambiguous imprecations against the 
haughty kingdom of Edom.'^ 

* It is to Hodestinus, a Roman lawyer (L vi. regular.) that we are 
indebted for a distinct knowledge of the Edict of Antoninus. See 
Casaubon ad Hist August p. 27. 

* See Basnage, Histoire des Juifis, L iil c. 2, 8. The office of Pairi< 
arcb was suppressed by Tbeodosins the younger. 

We need only mentaon the Purim, or deliverance of the Jows from 
ttie rage of Haman, which, till the reign of Theodosins, was celebrated 
with insolent triumph and riotous intemperance. Basnage, Hist des 
Jm% L vl c. 17, L viiL c. 6. * 

^ According to the fjalse JosepbuSi Tsepho, the grandson o( Esau, 
ModQCted into Italy the anny of Eneas, king of Carthage. Another 
eolocy of Idam<ean8. flying from th^ sword of David, took refuf^e in 


3d by Google 


Since tlie lews, who regeeted with abhorrence the deHiei 
idored hj their sovereign End hjr their fellow^ubjects, enjoyed, 
however, the free eioercise of their nnsodal religion, there 
must have existed some other canse, which etposed ihe dish 
ciples of Christ to those severities from which ithe poet^ty of 
Abraham was exempt The difference between them is shn^ 
pie and obvious; but, according to the sentiments of antiquity, 
it was of the highest importance. The Jews ivere a ttatiwi ; 
the Christians were a sect: and if it was natural for "every 
oonmiunity to riespeet the sacred institutions of their ndghbors, 
it was incumbent on them to persevere in those of their ances- 
tors. The vtnce of oracles, the precepts of philosophers, and 
the authority of the laws, unanimously enforced ihis national 
obligation. By their lofty daim of superior sandtity the Jews 
might provoke the Polyiheists to consider them as an odious 
and impure race. By disdaining the intercouTBe of other 
nations, they might deserve their contempt. The laws of 
Moses might be for the most part frivcAous or absurd ; yet, 
since they had been received during many ages by 'a large 
society, his followers were justified by the example of man- 
kind ; and it was universally acknowledged, that they had a 
right to practise what it would have been criminal in them to 
neglect But this principle, which protected the Jewish syna- 
gogue, afbrded not any fiivor or security to the primitive 
chuxch. By embracmg the fiuth of the gospel, the Christians 
incurred the supposed gmh of an unnatural and unpardonable 
ofifonce. They d&solved the isacred ties of custom and edu- 
cation, violated the rehgious institutions of their country., and 
presumptuously despised whatever their Others had believed 
as true, or had reverenced as saicred. Nor was this apoRtasy 
(if we may use the expression) merely of a partial or local! 

the domimoos of Romulus. For these, or for other reasoos of equal 
weight) the name of Edom was applied by the Jews to the ItomaQ 

. * The false Josephas is a romancer of very modem date, though some of 
these legends are probably more ancient. It may he worth considering 
whether many of the stories in the Talmud are not history in a figurative 
disgaise, adopted finom prudence. Tite Jews might dare to say many things 
of Rome, under the signifloaot appellation of Edom, which they leased to 
otter pablidy. Later and more ignorant a«es took literally, and perliaps 
embellished, what was intelligible among the generation to wUch it vna 
addressed. Hist, of Jews, iii 13}. 

The false Josephus has the inangnration of the emperor, with the seven 
electors and apparently the jtope assisting at the coronation t PfeC pfiga 

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kifid; BUice tbo-piQua deserter who witiidrew hiiOMlf fieom Urn 
temples of Egj]^i or Syria, would eqn^ally di^daiA to seek an 
a&^lttm in those .of . AtlMtDs or Cartb9ge. £yer^ Chrisijan 
K^eoted with confiscftpt the superstitions of his brnjljf his oity, 
and Us pcomoe. /die whole hodpr of Christians unanin^usly 
reftuEied to hold, any oommunion wUh the gods .of Botne, of the 
empt%>and of mankind* It was in vain that the, oppressed 
believer asserted the inalienaUe lights of consdenco and pri- 
Tate judgment Though his situation might emi^ the. pity» 
his arguments could never reach the understanding, eitW of 
the philosophic or of the believing part of the Pagan world. 
To tneir apprehensions, it was no less a matter <x surprise, 
that any individuals should entertain scruples against comply- 
ing with the established mode of worship^ thim if they had 
conceived a sadden ahborrence to the manners,, the dreas, or 
the language of their native country.* * 

The. surprise of the Pagans was soon succeeded by resentr 
ment ; and the most pious of men were exposed to the unjust 
but dangerous imputatitm. of impiety* Malice and prejudice 
c<»ican!ed in representi]^ the Christians as a society of athe- 
ists, who, by the most daring, attack on the religious constitu- 
tion of die empire, had merited the severest animadversion of 
the civil magistrate. They had separated themselves (they 
gloried in (h^ confes^on) from evefv m<>de of superstition 
which^ was received in any part of the elpbe by the various 
temper of polytheism : but it was not altogether so evident 
what deity, or what form of worship, they had substituted to 
the gods and temples of antiquity. The pure and sublime 
idea which they isntertained of the Supreme ^eing escaped the 
grass conception of the Pagan multitude, who wero at a loss 
to discover a spiritual and solitary God, tJiat was neither ref> 
resented under any corporeal figure or visible symbol, nor was 
adored with the accustomed pomp of libations and festivals, of 

. *' Firom 4iis ai^gttoeBts of OeUus^ as ihej are repreMnted und 
rtfatod 1^ Qrigen, (L y. p. 24'7*-259,) wo may clearly disoover the 
dtttindion that was made between the Jewish people aaa the Christian 
a^ See, in the Dialogue of Miiraeias Felix, (c 5, 6,) a fiur and sot 
iotfegpuii description or the popular seatiments, witi^ regard to the 
dwertioa of the estaUished womip.- 

* In all this there is.4odbtle8S mticb truth ; yet does not the more inu 
partant di£ferenoe he on the sar&ce 1 The Chrttfti^ made many converta 
Hie Jawa but few. Had tha Jewish been eqoal^ a proselyting leUgiOf 
wodd it not have encountered as violent peraecation?— -M. 

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i^fB and sacrifices.* The sages of Greece %iid Roeie, whor 
had derated their the eontemplation of the esistenee 
and attributes of the First Cause, were iaduced by reason or 
by vanity to reserve for themselves and their chosen discq^les 
the jmvilege of thia philosophical devotion.^^ They were fiir 
from admitting the prejudices of mankin^ as the standard of 
truth, but they considered them as flowing from the original 
dispsaition of human nature ; and they supposed that any.po{h 
ular mode of faith and worship whidi presumed to disdaim 
the assistance of the senses^ would, in proportion as it receded 
from superstition, find itself incapable of restraining tlie wan- 
derings of the fimcy, and the visions of fiuiaticism. The 
carel^ glance which m^i of wit and learning condescended to 
cast on the Christian revelation, served only to confirm their 
hasty opinion, and to persuade them that the principle, which 
they might have revered, 'of tihe Divine Unity, was de&ced by 
the wild enthusiasm, and annihilated by the airy speculations, 
of the new sectaries. The author of a celebrated dialogue, 
which has been attributed to Lucian, whilst be affects to treat 
the mysterious subject of tiie Trinity in a style of ridicule 
and contempt, betrays his own ignorance of ih& weakness of 
human reason, and of the inscrutable nature of the divino 

It might appear less surprising, that the founder of Gbristi^ 
anity should not only be reverod by his disdples as a sage and 

' Cur nullas aras habent? templa nulla? nulla nota simulacra I 

XJnde autem, vel qnis ille, aut nbi, D^us imicas, solitsrius, desti 

tatusf Ifinudua Pelix, e..lO. Hie Pagan mteiioGutor goes on to 
make a diBtinetion in favor of the Jews, who had onoe a t9B^)ie» altsro^ 
victim^, iic : 

^^ It is difficult (says Plato) to attain, and dangerous to publish, 
the knowledge of the true God See the llieologie des Fhilosophea^ 
in the Abb6 d'Olivet's French translation of Tolly de Natnrd Deomm, 
torn, i p. 216. 

" The author of the Philopatris perpetiiaUy treats tbt Ohri«kiaiM 
MB a company of dretOning enthusiasts, i^tftoviQt dteipiot dtBtpf^mnh^ 
TK d£po0ar9i»res, &c ; and in one place he manifestly. aUudes to tiie 
vision in whidi St Paul was transported to tiie uiird heaven. . la 
another pUce, Triephon, irho personates, a Christian, after deriding 
the gods of Paganism, proposes a mysteriojos oath. 

Tidy varpdSf itif$9na h irarpis Uwoftv6p»OMf 
"Ey lie Tpi&Vt KoMl utdi Tp(a. 

*M^$ia*t9 fi« itiaaKtiu (iB the profano answer of Critias,) ««( ^^f 4 
i*i9/ii|riXii* oU o16a yip n Xfyci$* h rphj rpia^ U I 

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▲•D.d24.] or THE ROMAN XMFItOS. 9 

1^ prophet, but that he sbotild be adored as a God. The 'PiAy- 
Iheists were disposed to adopt every article of fait^ \f hidt 
teemed to ofifer any resemblance, however distant or imperfect, 
with the popular mythology ; and the legends of l^cchus, 
of Hercules, and of JSsculapius, had, in some measure, pre- 
pared their imagination hr the appearance of the Son of God 
under a human form/' But they were astonished that the 
Christians should abandon the temples of those ancient heroes, 
who, in the infancy of the world, had inrented arts, instituted 
laws, and Vanquished the tyrants or monsters who infested the 
earth, in order to choose for the exclusive object of their 
religious worship an obscure teacher, who, in a recent age, and 
'among a barbarous people, had fallen a sacaifioe either to the 
malBoe of his own countrymen, or to the jealousy of the Roman 
government The PiRgan multitude, reserving their gratitude 
for temporal benefits ^one, rejected the inestimable present of 
life and immortality, which was offered to mankind by Jesus 
of Nasareth* His mild constancy in the midst df cruel and 
\t>Iuntary sufferings, his universal benevolence, and the sublime 
simplicity of his actions and character, were insufficient, in the 
opinion of those carnal men, to compensate for the want of 
&me, of empire, and of success; and whilst they refused to 
acknowledge his stupendous triumph over the powers of dark- 
ness and of the grave, they misrepresented, or they insulted, 
the equivocal birth, wandering life, and ignominious death, of 
the divine Aiuthor of Christianity." 

The personal guilt which every Christian had contracted, in 
thus preferring his private sentiment to the national religion, 
was aggravated in a very high degree by the number and 
union of the criminals. It is well known, and has been already 
observed, that Roman policy viewed with the utmost jealousy 
and distrust any association among its subjects ; and that the 
privileges of private corporations, though formed for the most 
harmless or beneficial purposes, were bestowed with a very 

• ^* According to Jilstin Martyr, (Apolog. Major, c. TO — 86,) the 
'daNn<Mi who had ga&ed somd imperfect imowledge of the prophecies, 
purposely coDtrived this resemblaDce, which might deter, though by 
mmrmt means, both the people and the philosopbers from embrachig 
the laith of Ghrisi 

^* In the first and seocmd books of Origea, Oelsus treats the birtli 
•ad dbfuraeter of our Savior with the most impious contempt Hie 
orator libanios praises Porphyry and Julian for confuting the folly of 
B ittsfc; wfaioh styles a dead man of Palestine, God, and the Son ol 
Ond Socrates, Hif t. £oclestast. iii. 23. 

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spsrit.g hand.'* The religioiii JBSsembiii^ of the OUiiBiumi^ 
wbb ]&d soparated themselves firom^the public w<.t8hip, ap- 
peared of -a much less mnocent tatnre; theyWAre illegal in 
their principle, and in their oonsequeiie«i inight become dan- 
gerous ; nor were th^ emperors con8dous< that they violated 
ih^ IwTO of justice, when, for the peace of society, they pro- 
hibited those secret and sometimes nocturnal meetings.'*^ The 
pious disobedience of the Christians made their' conduct, or 
perhaps their designs, appear in a mvuik more fi^oua and 
criminal light ; and the Roman princes, who might perhaps 
have suflEered themselves to be disarmed by a r^y 8ulmii»- 
sion, deeming their honor concerned in the execution of their 
commands, sometimes attempted, by rigorous pumahments, to 
subdue this independent spirit, which boldly acknowledged an 
authority superior to that of the magistntte. The extent and 
duration of this spiritual con^uracy seemed to render it every 
day more deserving of his animadversion. We have^already 
seen that the^ active and suocessful zeal of the Christians had 
insensibly diffused them thi'ough every province and almost 
ererf city of the empire. The , new converts seemed to re- 
nounce their family and country, that they miglit connect 
Uiemselves in an indissoluble band of Union witih a peculiar 
society, which every where assumed a different character from 
the rest of mankind. Their gloomy and austere asj^ect, their 
abhorrence of the common business and pleasures of life, 
and their frequent prec^ctions of impending caiAmi^,^* in- 
spired the Paga^ with the apprehension of some danger, 
which would arise from the new sect, the more alarming as it 
was the more obscure. " Whatever," says Pliny, " may be 
the principle of their conduct, their inflexible <A)Stinacy' ap- 
peared deserving of punidiment" " 

" The emperor Trajan refused to incorporate a company of 150 fire- 
men, for the use of the dty of Nicomedia. He dialikea all assodil- 
IJOD& See Plin. Epist X. 42, 48. 

^* The proooBsuL Pliny had published a general edict against 
onlawful meetingB. The prudence of the ChrifttiaoB suspended their 
Agape); but it was impossible for them to omit the exercise of pnbtfc 

^* Ab the prophecies of the Ani^rist^ approaching eon6agration, 
^, provoked those Pagans whom they did not convert, th^ were 
■Motioned with caution and reserve; mid the Montaoi^ were een- 
Bored for disdosing too freely the dangerous secret See MiwhiwBi, 
•K 418. 

'" Keque euim dubitabam, quodcunque esiet quod fiiterentor, ^wMh 
%ni the words of Pliny,) pervicacian: certe et infleziNlcm.6bstinati(meBi 
'a».'th punirl 

Digitized by 


Tb§ pcecautiQns .witih,..Tfliich tfie di8oif^l€i& of Chi3i»t,p6r 
fonn^d fte office' of religion, werci at first dl^.tated by fear 
and necessity ; . but. they werie continued from choice. By 
imitating the .awiul secrecy which reigned in. the Eleusinian 
(Dysteiies, the Christians had flattered th^mselve^ that they 
ihonld render their saored institutions more respectable in the 
^yeiB of the P^*n world/'. But the ev<ent, as it often hap- 
pens, to the operations of sijj>tile policy, deceived their wishes 
and thjeir e^ip^ct^tions. It tfas concluded, that they only con- 
cealed whiit they would have blushed to disclose. Their 
mistaken prudenoe iifforded an opportunity for malice to 
invent, and for suspicious credulity to believe, the hprrid tales 
which described the Christians, as the most wicked of huQian 
kind, who practised i|i the^r dark recesses every abomination 
that a depraved ..fiwcy could suggest, and who splidted the 
favor of their unknown God by the sacrifice of every, moral 
virtue. There were many who pretended to confess or to 
relate tlie o^remonies of this abhorred society. . It wa3 asserted, 
•* that a new-born ini^nt, entirely covered over with flour, was 
presented, like.sQooie mystic symbol of initiation, to the knife 
of the prpse^t^. who unknowingly inflicted many a secret and 
mortal wound on . ihe innooeut victim of his etror ; that as 
soon as the cruel deed was perpetrated, the sectaries drank up 
the blood, greedily tore asunder the quivering members, and 
pledged themselves, to eternal ^qrecy, by. a mutual conscious- 
ness of guilt. It was as confidently al&rmedt that this inhuman 
sacrifice was succeeded by a suitable entertainment, in which ■ 
intemperance served as a provocative to brutal lust ; till, at the 
appointed moment, the lights were suddenly extinguished, 
shame ^as banished, nature was forgotten ; and, a3 accident 
might direct, the darkness of the night was polluted by the 
incestuous commerce of sisters and brothers, of sons and of . 
mothers."" .^ 

But the perusal of the ancient apologies was sufficient to 
remove even the slightest suspicion from the mind of a candid 
adversary. The Christians, with the intrepid security of 
innocence, appeal from the voice of rumor to the equity of the 

'* See Moeheim's Siedesiastical History, voL ip. 101, and Spanlidnl, 
Remarqnes sur lea OsBsars de Jufien, p. 468, Ac. 

" See Jy&tin Martyr, Apolog. i .35, il 14. . Athenagoras, io Lega« 
tioD. c. t1, TertuUian, Apolog. c. 7, 8, 9. Minudus Felix, c. 9, 10, 
80, 81. The last of these writers relates the aocusation in the mosl 
degant and drcumstantial maimer. Hie answer of Tertullian is thn 
Oddest ami most vigorous. 

Digitized by 


if TflS JOtOLOtm AHD VAIX [A l>« 8)1* 

nugiatrates. Tkey acknowledge, that if aoy pn»of caii be pio- 
daoed of the crimes which caiumny has ikipuiied to them, uiey 
are worthy of the most severe punishment; They provoke 
the pimiahment, and they challenge the proot At the same 
time they urge, with equal truth and prt^riety, that the charge 
IS not less devoid of probability, than it is destitute of evi- 
dence ; they ask, whether any one can seriously believe that 
Uie pure and holy precepts of the gospl, which so frequently 
restrain the use of the most lawful enjoyments, should incul- 
cate the practice of the most abominable crimes ; that a large 
sodety sb)uld resolve to dishonor itself in the eyes of its own 
members ; and that a great number of persons of eitber sex, 
and every age and character, insensible to the fear of death 
or infiAmy, should consent to violate those principles which 
nature and education had imprinted most deeply in th^r 
mmds.'* Nothing, it should seem, could weaken the force ot 
destroy the effect of so unanswerable a justification, unless it 
were Uie injudicious conduct of the apologists themselves, who 
betrayed the common cause of religion, to gratify their <kvout 
hatred to the domestic enemies of the church. It was somct- 
times Mntly insinuated, and sometimes boldly asserted, that 
the same bloody sacrifices, and the same incestuous festivals, 
which were so fjEdsely ascribed to the orthodox believers, were 
in reality celebrated by the Mannonites, by the Oarpocratians, 
and by several other sects of the Gnostics, who, notwithstand- 
ing thev might deviate into the paths of heresy, were still 
actuated by the sentiments of men, and stiU governed by the 
precepts of Christianity .'' Accusations of a similar kind were 
retorted upon the church by the schismatics who had departed 
from its communion,'* and it was confessed on all sidefr, that 

•• In the persecution of Lyons, some Gentile slaves were compelled, 
by the fear of tortures, to accuse their Christian master. The church 
of Lyons, writing to their brethren of Asia, treat the horrid charge 
with proper indi^mtioii and contempt Euseb. Hist Eodes. v. L ^ 

'^ See Justin Martyr, Apolog. L 86. Irensus adv. Hteres^ i. 34. 
Clemeps. Alexandrin. Stromat L iu. p. 438. Euseb. iv. 8. It would 
be tedious and' disgusting to relate all that the succeeding writers have 
imagined, all that Epipfaanius has received, and all that TiUemont has 
copied M. .de Beausobre (Hist du Manicheisme, L ix. e; 8» 9) has 
Exposed, with great jspirlt, the disingenuous arts of Augustin and 
Pope Leo J. 

*• When Tertullian became a Montanist, he aspersed the morals of 
Hke church which he had so resolutely defended' '*^ Sed majoris eat 
Agape, quia per banc adolescentes tui cum sororil^us dormiunt^ 
appendices scihcet gulae lascivia et luzuria.** De Jejuniis. a 17. Thii 

Digitized by 


A* t): k24^] OF TSK^ ROMAN SMVIBB. tt 

Hm moit fioftndidolis iioentiousiiefls of manoera provaUed 
mnomg ^eat numbers of tboee vrho afifeeted ihe name ol 
.C&mfciaii8. A Pagan mi^isJbrate, who ^auessed neither Ids- 
nve nor abilities to disoem ih& afanost impereeptible Hne which 
divides the orthodox fidih from heretical praTiiy, might easily 
have imagined that their mntiial animosity had extorted ifaie 
discovery of their common guilt It was fortunate for the 
repose, or at least for the reputatitHi, of the fiist Ohristians, 
tkat the magistrates sometimes proceeded with more temper 
aad moderation Ihad is usiially o<Hi8istent with religious aeal, 
aad tbiat they reported, as the impartial result of (heir jodioial 
inquiry, that the sectaries, who had des^ted the establiriied 
worship, appeared to them sincere in their professions, and 
blameless m thdr manners; however, they might incnr, by 
their absnid and exeessive snpantitbn, the censure of the 
laws." ... 

Hjstory, whieh mideirfakes to record the transaetioDS of the 
past, for tiae instmctMHi of future ages, woiidd ill deserve that 
tkOBorabk office, if she condesoendmi to plead the cause of 
tyrants, or to justify the maxims of peisecittioiL It must, how»> 
ever, be acknowledged, l^at the conduct of the empesors )»iio 
4ppeared the least foroiable to the piiaoitive ohnvch, is by no 
means so criminal as that of modern sovereigns, who have 
^jnpleyed the arm of violence and terror against the rdigious 
ttpiaions of any part of their subjects* mm their reflectioE^ 
or erai from their own feelings a Charles V.. or a Lewis 
JQV. >. might have acquired a just knowledge of the rights of 
oonsdienoB, of the obligation of faith, and 'of the innooenoe 
of enJbr^ But the prinoes awl 'ma^tcates of andent Borne 
were strangers to &oee princtplea which inspired and au- 
thorized the inflexible obstinacy of ihe. Chitttians in the 
cause of truth, nor could they themselves discover in their own 
breasts any motive whidi would have prompted them to refuse 
a legal, and as it were^ a natural, submission to the sacred 
institutions of their country. The same reason which con- 
tributes to alleviate the guilt,, must have tended to abate the 
rigor, of their persecutions. As thisy were actuated, not by the 
furious zeal of bigots, but by the temperate policy of legis- 

86ih canon of the council of Illiberis provides against the ecandala 
Which too often polluted the vigils of the churc^ and disgraced the 
Christian name in the eyes of tuno^evers. 
^" Teriullian (Apolog. c. 2) exfiatiates on the fair and bonorahfe 
r of Pliny, wi£b much rpa«on, and aoine deolamatioiL 

Digitized by 



laton, oonten^ must often have rellued, imdiitttmisiiy iwaA 
ftequentiy have sospendedf the exeontion of those lawa which 
thB7 eniusted agaiDtt the hoisble and obscuce fottowfin cL 
Ghmt Fiom the general wiw of their chaiaoter and motivee 
we might natuiallj oonolnde a L That a eooudemble time 
eUpeed before they considered the new eectaries as an object 
dfiBerviDg of the attention of government IL That in the 
conviction oi any of their subjects who were accused of so 
very singular a.crime^ they proceeded with caution and reluo- 
tanoe. IIL That th^ were moderate in the useof punishr 
ments; and, lY. That the a£9icted church enjcyed miaii^ 
intervals of pieaoe and tranquillity. Notwithstanding the care- 
less mdifferenoe whidi the most copious and the most mmute 
of the Pagan writers have shown^to. the affiun of the. Chris- 
tians,'^ it may still be in our power tox^onfim each, of these 
probable suppositions, by the evidence of authentic facts. 

1. By the .wnris dispensation of Pnovidenee, a mysterious 
veil was cast ovev the in&ney of the churcht which, till the 
fiuth t>f the Ghrirtians was matured, and their numbers ware 
mnltipMed, served to protect them not only from the malice 
but even fh>m the knowledge of rthe Pagan worlds The slow 
and gradual abolition of the Mosaic ceremonies affi^ded a safe 
and innocent disguise to the more i early proselytes ef the 
gospeL As they were, for the greater part, of th6 nwe of 
Abraham^ they were distii^ruished by the peculiar mark of 
dfcmneisbn,. offered up: tlwir devotions in tlie Temple of 
Jerusalem till its fatal destruction, and received both the Law 
and the Propheta as the genuine inspirations of the Deity. 
The Gentile converts, who l^. a spiritual adoption had been 
associated to the hope ef Israel, were likewise confounded 
under the garb and appearance of Jews,'* and as the Polytin- 

** Jn the vsrious oompilaiioa oC the AiUgastaii History, (a part of 
which was composed under the reign of Constantine,) there are not 
BIZ lines which relate to the Christians; nor has tbd diligence of 
Xiphilin discovered their name in the large history of I>ioQ Cassins.* 

" An obscure passage of Snetonios (m Olaud. e; 25) may seem ib 
offer a poof how strangely the J#ws. and Ghristians of Rome.wera 
-eonfDunaed with each other. 

* The greater part of the Angastan History is dedicated to Diocletian. 
This may account for the silence of its anthers concerning Christianity 
The notices that occur are almost all in the lives composed nnd»r the reigf 
of GoQsCttitiae. It may fsiriy ha oaadaded, from the laogaagw wllcai hi 
•au into the month of Msoenas» that Dkm was an enemy to all uiaMa^ 

Digitized by 


A-D 324.] or TBI ROMAN XMCBK. li 

MBrpatd kst regard to artud«8 df^ftith^thia to tlieexleani 
woiMpi ih%' n^w sedl, whidi carefoliy oonoeabd^ or Ikisdy 
wmoiiBMd, its fetuffe gfeatnem aad aonfaidion) itm permitlod 
to belter itself wider tlie geoenl tokcatkni vfhidi was granted 
to an andeiBt and oefebrated people in the Roman erapine 
It was not long, perhaps^ ibefoie tkeJews themsekes, animated 
with a fieitter seal atd a moDe 'jealom fiiitli, perceived the 
gradual «eparatioti of their NazareiM brethien fioiiithe doe> 
Ivine of the* sjmi^ogue ; and ihey would gladly hare extin- 
gondffid the dan^rous^heresy in ihe blood of its adherents. 
Bat the decrees of Heaven had already disanned their malice ; 
and iboiigh they might sometnnes exert the lieentbus privilege 
of sedition, th«^ no longer poesessed the administratatNaL of 
criminal justice; nor did they find it «asy to • infuse into the 
cMtk breaBt of a; Banian mi^giBtrate the rancof of their own 
seal and pife^iidioe. The (provinedid goveraois dedaned them> 
lelveB refe^y to listen to any aeousatlon tbtU^ might afi^t the 
pihlic'safetf ; but as soon as they worn infonnod that it waft a 
question' notr of loots but of woids^ a dispnte ifilatittg only to tiie 
interpaJetstioni of the Jenidbh lanvs and pvo^edes, ^ey deemed 
it unwortfaf^ bf tiie majesty, of Rome seriousiy: to ^djaeuss the 
obsoure differences whioh m%ht arise among a barbarons and 
snpetttitionil peopK Thoyinnooeiice of the first -Christians 
was protected by igmNrance and contempt ; and the tribunal 
oi the Pagan magistrate . oftma proved their most assured 
refuge against the fury of the synagogiie.^ If: indeed we 
were disposed to adopt the traditions <^ a too eiodnlons an- 
tiqi6ty, we might relate the distant peregrinations, the won- 
derful adiievements, and the various -deaths of the twelve 
apostles: but a niore aeonrato inquiry will induce us to doubt, 
whether any of thoee persons who had been witiKGBses to tbe 
mirades of Cbrmt were permitted, beyond the limits of Pales- 
tine/ to seal with their blood the truth of their testimony/' 

.'* Bee, in the zyiiith and xiKvth chapters of the Act8 of the Apostles, 
the behavior of Gallio, proconsul of Achaia, and of Festus, procurator 
of Judea. ' 

'^ In the tim& of TertoHian • and Glemt^ ^of Alexandria, the 
glorj of msirtyrdbin was eonfined to St. Peter, St Paul, and St 
James. It was gradually bestowed oq the vest of the apostles, hy 
the more recent Greeks, who pradently selected fcr the theatre of 

tkms in religion. (See Sibbon, twfm, note 105.) In fact, when the^sijence 
«r Pagan Mstoriaiis is ttoticeclr it fhovld be rafnembefed how meagM' ma 
WBtilated are all the extant histories of the period.— M. 

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•'16 tm DE0UKS AVD 7ALL . [A.1X8S4 

FWmb the oTdinwy term of hnnum life, il may my MtmHy 
be preBumed that most of tbem w«fre deceased befift^e liid dk- 
oontent of the Jefwa broke out into that faion war/iriiieh 
was tenninated oaHj by the ran of Jenisalem. Daring a 
iong period, from the death of Christ to that nioitioraUe 
rebellion, we cannot discover any traces of Roman intokranee. 
«inles8 they are to be foond in the sodden, the tisiteient, but 
the (smel persecution, iMdi was ezeroised by Nero against 
the Christians of the capital, ihiety-five yean ti^r the limier, 
and only two yeus before ths^ latter* of those great events. 
The character of the philosophid historian, to whom we are 
principally indebted for the Imowledge ci this singular tesas- 
action, wonld alone be soflkient to recommend it to oar 
most attentive consideratioik 

In the tenth year «f tbe mm of Neio, tbe capital of the 
empire was afflicted by a ire mieh raged beyond the mem- 
ory or example of former ages.'* The monnmeats of Grecian 
art and of Roman rirtae, t& trophies of the Punie isnd Gallio 
wars, the most holy tnnples, and the most splendid palaoes, 
were inTolvied in one common desbnetion. Of the fourteen 
regions or quatten into which Rome was divided, four only 
suDsisted entire, three were levelled with the gvounid, and the 
remaining seven, which had experienced the fsry of Ae 
flanras, displayed a melancholy prospect of rain and desola- 
tion. The vigilance of government ajqiesrs not to have 
neglected any of the precautions which might alleriate the 
sense of so dreadful a cahmiity. The Imperud gardens were 
thrown open toihe distressed multitude, temporary buikKngs 
were erected for thenr wobmmodatibn, and a plentiful suj^iy 
of corn and provisions was distriboted at a very moderate 
price.'* The most generous poli<^. seemed to have dictated 
the edicts which regulated the disposition of the streeb and 
the construction of private houses ; and as it usually happeuB, 
in an age of prosperity, the conflagration of Rome, in the 
course of a few years, produced a new city, more regular and 
more beautiful Uian the former. But all the prudence and 

their preadimg and suffMiDgs Mfme remote ceuntry bey^cMid the limita 
of the Roman empire. See Mosheim, p 81 ; end Tiilemont, M^moureH 
Eoclesiastiquefl, torn, i pari iil • 

** Tadt. Annal xr. 88—44. Soetqa in Neron. c. 38. Dion Oasdus. 
L Ixii. p. 1014. Orosius, vil 7. 

'* The price of wheat (probably of the modtm,) was reduced aa lo« 
•8 tenU Ifummi ; which would b9 equivalent to about fifteen ahiUinfii 
the English quarter. 

Digitized by 


A»IXSM.] or- THB ROMAlf SliPBtt* IV 

hm/oamtyaSbcMi by Nevo on iJik oeoiBioii wefe ktuflMBiit 
to praservo lam from the popvlar si]g^n€u»i« Etreiy crane 
might he imputed to the assamiQ of hk wife and mother ; nor 
eo^ the prince who proBtituted his pennn and dignify oa the 
theatre he deemed incapable of the meet extravagant folly. 
The voice of ramor aeeuaed the empeior as the incendiary of 
his own capital; and as- the most incredible stories are the 
best adapted to the genins of an enraged peof^e, it was 
gravely reported, and &'mly believed, that Nero^ enj<^tig the 
calamity which he had occasioned, amosed lumaelf with sing- 
mg to his lyre the destniction of ancient Troy.'* To divert a 
suspicion,' which the power of despotism* was unable to sup- 
press, the emperor resolved to subsiitttte in his own pl<ioe some 
fictitious criminab. ^With this view," continues IWtus, 
^ he inflicted the most exquinte tortures on those men, who^ 
under the . vulgar appellation of Christiana, were already 
branded with deserved iuiamy. They derived their name and 
origin bom Christy who in the reign of Tiberius had suffered 
death by the sentence of the procurator Pcmtius Pilate.*^ For 
a whye this dire siqMirstition was diecked ; but it again burst 
forth;* and not only spread itself over Judffia, the firBt seat 
of this mischievous sect, but was even introduced into Rome, 
the common asylum which receives and protects whatever is 

** We may obeerve, that the nimor is mentioaed by Taeiiua with a 
T ery becoming distniat and heaitatioiiy whilst it is greedily transcribed 
toy Suetonijas, and fiolemnly ixmfirmed by Dion. 

'* ThiB testimony is alone sufficient to expose the anachronism of 
^e Jews, who place the birth of Christ near a century sooner. (Bas- 
nage, Histoire des Jiii&, L v. c 14, 16.) We may learn from Josephns, 
(i^tiqnitat. zviii S,) that the ]>rocuratorBhip of Pilate corresponded 
with me last ten years of Tiberius, A. D. 27 — Si, As to the particu- 
lar time of the cfeatb of Christ, a very early tradition fixed it to the 
26th of March, A. D. 29, under the consulship of the two Gemini 
(TertulHan adv. Judjww, c 8.) This date, •wind is adopted by Pagi, 
Cardinal Korris, and Le Clerc, seems at least as probable as the vulgar 
lera, which is placed (J know ndt from what oonjeetaree) four years 

* This single phrase, Eepressa in pnesens exidabilis saperstitio mnoa 
emmpehat, proves that the Christians had thready attracted the attention of 
the goTernment; and that Nero was not the first to penecate them. I am 
surprised that moresbress has not been lti4 on the oonfirmation which the 
Acts of the Apostles derive from these words of Tacims, Uepressa in 
priBsexis, and rorsos enunpebat— G. 

I have been unwilling to soppress this note, but surely the expression of 
facitv refers to the expected extirpation of the roligion by the death of its 
fiiQttto, Christ— M. 

Digitized by 


It nW PJ)0I4NS 4N9 7AU, 1A«D^|^4. 

impale, whMever .13 atropoitft* . The confessions of Aim ifhfi 
were seised disoovarecL a gre^ lOukitudeoC ibM s^c»(x>aiplii>H^ 
and they were i^l convicted^ not so much for ib^ xariioe of 
setting fire to the eitj, aa for their hatred of biN^^an kind*** 
Thej died in torments, and. their tonaenta were imbittoed by 
insult and derision* Some. were nailed on crosses; otheip 
sewn up m the skins of wild beasts^-and exposed tQ tl^efury 
of dofl^; others again, smeared over with oombiiatihle mate^ 
riajs, wese used as torches to. illuminate the darkness pf the 
night The gai^BUs of STero were destined for the melan- 
choly spectacle,, which was aooompaoied . with a hoxse-raoe^ 
and honored with the presence of the emperor, "who. mangled 
wit^ the populace in the dress and attitude of a diarioteer. 
The guilt of^the Christians deserved. indeed Urn most ejxem- 
plary.punishment^ but the public abhorrence wlis chaoged into 
commiseration, from the opinion that those unhappy wretches 
were sacrificed, not so much to the public. wel£Evre^ as to the 
cruelty of a jealous tyrant"" Those who suryey with a 
curious .eye the revolutions of mankind,, may observe, that thn 
gardens and circus of Nero on the Vatican^ which wer^ jfiV 
luted with the blood of the first GhristianB, have been rendered 
still more femous by the triumph and by the abuse of tl^e 
persecuted religion. On the same spot,** a templ/s, which faf 
surpasses the ancient glories of the Capitol, has been since 
erected by the Christian PontiS, who, deriving their ckum of 
universal dominion finom an humble fisherman of Galilee, have 
succeeded to the throne of the Caesare, given lavm to the bar- 
barian conquerors of Rome, and extended their spiritual juris- 
diction from the coast of the Baltic to the shores of the Pacifig 

*' Odio kutnani generis eonvicti-. These words may either signify the 
haired of mankind towards the Christians, or the hatred of the Chris* 
tians towards mankind. I have preferred the latter sense, as the most 
agreeable to the style of Tacitus, and to the popular eiror, of whidi 
a precept of the gospel (see Luke ziv. 26) nad been, perhaps, the 
innocent occasion. Jify interpretation is justified by the authori^ of 
lipsius ; of the Italian, the Frendi, and the English translatoi's of 
Tacitus; of Mosheim, (p, 102,) of Le Clerc, (Historia Eodesiast. p. 
427,) of Dr. Lardoer, (Testimonies, vol I p. 345,) and of the Bishop 
of Gloucester, (Divine Legation, voL iii p. 88.) But as the worg 
tionmcH does not unite ver^ happily with the rest of the seoteace, 
James Gropttrms has preferred the reading of owifiMi^i, whkh k 
authorized by the valuable MS. of Florence. 
•• Tacit Annal xv. 44. ^ 

** Nardini Koma Antica, p. 487. Donatiis de Romd Antlqul^L !^ 
p 449. 

Digitized by 


AmV* 824.1 OV TIBB .ROMAH «|ipiwp. \Q 

Bat it womd h^ impfoper, to diamim tbia atxxmnt of NWa 
persecuticm, till ^e hav^. made Bome observatiioiis Uttt may 
aerve (o remote the dMcttlties with whioh it is perplexed, and 
to thfQw some light on. the aab^equeAt biatory of ^tm diuroh. 

1. Th^ pioet seeptical'cnticiBm* i» obliged to respect the 
troth of ibis exUa(»*diDaiy faet, and the intc^ty of this ^le- 
brated passi^ of Tacitus. The lormer is ooufinned by the 
diligent and aoeurate Suetonius, who mentions the punishment 
which Nero indieted on the Christians^ a sect of men who 
had- emiMraoed a; new and criminal superstition.'* The hitter 
may be progred by the consent of the most ancient manu- 
scripts ; by the inimitable diameter of the style of Tacitus ; 
by his reputation, which gparded his text from the interpok- 
tions of pious fraud; and by the purport of his narration, 
which acoused the first Ohnstians of the most atrodous 
crimes, witiiottt insinuating that they poesessed any miracu- 
lous or even magical powers abo^e the rest oi mankind." 
2. Notwithstanding it is probable th^t. Tacitus was born some 
^jears before the fire of Kome,'' he could denve only from 
rea<^ng and conversation 1^ knowledge of an event which 
happened during his in&ncy. 'Before he gave himself to the 
public, he calmly waited till his genius had attained its full 

•* Sueton. in I^erone, c Ifi. The epithet of malefica, -^hich some 
Bagadons oommentators have translated magical^ is considered by the 
more rational Mosheim as only synonymous to llie exitiMl%9 of Taci- 

'' Tho passage oonoenmig Jesos Glirist^ which was inserted into the 
text of Josephus, between the time of Origen and that of EuJsebius, 
may furnish an ezamQie of no vulgar forgery. The accomplishment 
of the prophecies, tlie virtues, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus, are 
distinctly related. Josephns aeknowkK^^^ that he was the Messiah, 
and hesitates wl^ther he sheiild call hmi a ivan. If any doubt oan 
stUl remain concerning this celebrated passage, the reader, may exam- 
ine the pointed objections of Le Fevre, (Huvercamp. Joseph, iom. ii. 
p. 267—273,) the labored answers of Daubuz, (p. 187 — 282,) and 
^ masterly reply (Biblioth&que Ancienne et Modeme, torn, vii 
Ik 3ft7r^8$8) ol aa anonymouB ovitic, whom I believe to have been th£ 
teamed Abb« de Xionguerue.* 

" Sec the lives of Tacitus by lipsius and the Abbe de la Bleterie, 
Dietioiinfdre de'Bayie h. Tarticle Tacite, and Fabricius, Biblioth. Latin, 
iom. il p. 386, edit Ernest 

* The modem editor of £uBcbin«, Heiziidieii, has adopted, and aUy 
^imported, a notion, which had before saQ;gc»ted itself to tte edil9ii[> llial 
this passage is not altogether a forgery, bat interpolated with many addi 
tiooaf dwses. Heinichen has endeavored to disengage the ccigiiial tea^ 
StHD the ibreign and more recent matter.— rH* 

Digitized by 


so TRB DSdtlfS AMD FALL [A.D.Si<i 

matnriij, and he was more than forty Team bf age, wh^ a 
gratefiil regard for the memory of the virtoous Agricola 
extorted from him the most early of those hiStoiic»l oom- 
positadns which will delight and instract the meet distant pos- 
terity. After making a trial of his strength in the life of 
Agricola and the description of Germany, he conceiyed, and 
at' length ezecutad, a more arduous work; the histoiy of 
Rome, in thirty hooks, from the fall of Nero to the accession 
of Nerva. The administration of Nerva introduced an age 
of justice and propriety, which Tadtns had destined for the 
occupation of his old age ; " but when he took a nearer tiew 
of his subject, judging, perhaps, that it was a more honoraUe 
or a less invidious office to record the vices of past tyrants, 
than to celebrate the virtues of a reigning monarch, he chose 
ratLer to relate, under the form of annals, the actions of the 
fouy immediate successors of Augustus. To collect, to dis- 
pose, and to adorn a series of fourscore years, in an immortal 
woik, every sentence of which is pregnant with the deepest 
observations and the most lively images, was an undertaking 
sufiicient to exercise the genius of Tacitus himself during the 
greatest part of his life. In the last years of the reign of 
Tmjan, whilst the victorious monarch extended the power of 
Rome beyond its ancient limits, the historian was describing, 
in the second and fourth books of his annals, the tyranny of 
Ti>)erius ; '* and the emperor Hadrian must have succeeded to 
the throne, before Tacitus, in the regular prosecution of his 
work, could relate the fire of the capital, and the cruelty of 
Nero towards the unfortunate Christians. At the distance of 
sixty years, it was the duty of the annalist to adopt the narra- 
tives of contemporaries ; but it was natural for the philosopher 
to indulge himself in the description of the origin, the prog- 
ress, and the character of the new sect, not so much accord- 
ing to the knowledge or prejudices of the age of Nero, as 
according to those of the time of Hadrian. 3 Tacitus very 
frequently trusts to the curiosity or reflection of his readers to 

*' Prindpatum ]^ri NorvaB, et imperium Trajani, uberiorem, seoa* 
rioremquo materiam senectuti seposm. Taoit But i. 
■» See Tacit. AimaL il 61, iv. 4.*^ 

* Hie ^erasid of this paBsage <^ Tacitaa ekne is soffieieiit, as I hnvs 
llready said, to show that the Chrisdan sect was not so obBciue as nci 
already to have been lepressed, (repressa,) and that it did not pass fia 
luocPDt in the eyes of the UottMins. — O. 

Digitized by 



kopplj these inteimediatd circuiiMiarioes and ideas* whidi, m 
his extreme. iXHiciaeBess^ be has thought proper to rappreas. 
We may therefcNre ]» ii&a^xie some probable cause 
which covld direot the enxelty of Nero against the Christians 
of Rome, whose obscurity, as wdi as innoc^ce, should have 
shielded them fiom his indignation, and even from his notica 
The Jews, who were numerous in the capital, and oppressed 
m their own country, were a much fitter object for the sus> 
picions of the emperor and of the people : nor did it seem 
unlikely that a yanquished nation, who already discovered 
their abhorrence of the Roman yoke, might have recourse 
to the most atrocious means of gratifying their implacaUe 
revonge. But the Jews possessed very powerful advocates in 
the palace, and even in the hearLof the tyrant ; his wife and 
mistress, the beautiful Foppeea, and a fitvorite player of the 
race of Abraham, who had already employed their intercession 
in behalf of the obnoxious people/** In their room it was 
necessary to offer some other victims, and it might easDy be 
suggested that, although the genuine foUowets of Moses were 
innocent of the fire of Home, there had arisen among them a 
new and pernicious sect of Gaul'mavBj which was capable of 
the most horrid crimes. Under the appellation of Gauljeans, 
two distinctions of men were confounded, the most opposite to 
each other in their manners and principles ; the disciples who 
had embraced the faith of Jesus of NazaretV^ and the zealots 
who had followed the standard of Judas the Gaulonite.*" Hie 
former were the friends, the latter were the enemies, of human 
kind; and the only resemblance between them consisted in 
the same inflexible constancy, which, in the defence of their 
cause, rendered them insensible of death and tortures. The 

*®The player's name was AIituni& Through the same channel, 
Joeephus, (de vitS sqA, c. 2,) alMnit two years before, had obtained 
the paidoh and release of some Jewish pnests, who were prisoners at 

*^ The learned Dr. Lardner (Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, yoL 
ii. p. 102, 103) has proved that the naine of Galilseans was a very 
ancient^ aod perjiyapa tiie primitive appellatioa of the Ohristians. 

*' Joseph. Antjjqnifcai zviil 1, 2. Tillemont, Bnine des Juifs, p. 
742 ' Th*^ sons of Judas were crncified in the time of Claudius, ^s 
grandson Eleazar, after Jerusalem was taken, defended a strong for- 
tress with 960 of his most desperate followers. When the battering- 
ram had made a breach, they turned their swords against their wives, 
their children, and at length against their own bnsasts. They died 
to the last man. 

Digitized by 


jfS ^HB BKCLIKB AKt> ' FA£L [A. O. 324. 

Ibllbwen of JtidaB, who impelled their ooontiynien into rebel* 
Ik>ny were tooon'barieid nnaerthe mias of J^oftaietfi; Whilst 
Uioso of Jesw, known by the nK>re eeleb^ted name of Chtid- 
tians, difiuaed Idiemselves over the Roman eilnpire. How nat^ 
nral was it for Tadtus, in the time of Hadrian, to appropriate 
to the Christians the guilt and the snfferings,* which he might, 
with far greater tmth and Jostioe, have attributed to a sect 
whose odious memory was almost extingmshed ! 4. What- 
ever opinion may. be entertained of this conjecture, (for it is 
no more than a ooDJectnre,) it is evident thatf the efi^t, as well 
as the oause, of Keiro^s persecution, was confined to the walh 
of Boine,**f that the religious tenets of the Galilieans oi* 
CSiristians, were never made a subject of punishment, or even 
of inquiry; and that, as the idea of their sufferings was for a 
iot^ time connected with the idea of cruelty and injustice, the 
moderation of siiooeeding princes inclined them to spare a 
«eot, oppressed by a. tyrant^ whose rage had been usually 
directed ii^inst virtue and innocence^ 

It is somewhat remarkaUe that the flames of war consumed, 
ahnost at the: same time, the temple of Jerusalem and the 

** See DodwelU Paudtat Mart L xiil The Spaniflh Inscriptipii. in 
£^ruter. p. 238, Ko. 9, is a manifest and acknowledged forgery eon- 
trived by that noted impostor, Oyriacus of Ancona, to flatter the pride 
u)k1 firejadices of the Spaniards See Ferreras, Histdre D*£8pagne, 
koBL i. p. 192, 

* This eo^jectare ik entirely devoid, not merely of v^sinkilitade, bat 
eren of possibility. TiUsitos could . not be deceived in appropriating to Cha 
Christians of Rome the guilt and the sufferings whi(^ he nught have, 
Attributod with far greater truth to the followers of Judas the Gnnlonite, 
for the latter never went to Rome. Their revolt, their, attempts, theii 
opinions, their wars, their punishment, had no other theatre, but Judna 
(Basa. Hist des. Jutfs, t. j. p. 491.) Moreover the 'name of Christians 
Dad lon^ been, given in, Rome- to the diseiples of Jeflbs^ tad Tacitas aJBnm 
too positively, refers too distinctly to its e^jymology, to aUoiros tojuoepect 
tny mistake on his part.-^. - j 

, M. Gnizot's expressions are not in the least too strong M(aipst this strange 
imagination of Gibbon ; it xnay be doubted whether the ^Sowers of Jadaa 
were known as a sect under the nttme of Galilieans. — ^M. . 

t M. Guizot, on the authority of Solpiehui Beveros; ii.37> and of O^tMrius, 
viii. 5, inclines to the opinion of those, who extend the persecntioii to the 
{)rovinces. Mosheim rather leans to ttiat side on this mtiph disputed quea- 
tion, (c. XXXV.) Keander ta,kes the view of Gibbon,. which is in general that 
of the most learned writers. There is indeed no evidence, whiqk I can 
discover, of its reaching^ the provinces ; and the apparent security,, at le&et 
as regards his life, with which St. Paul pursued nis travels during thU 
period, affords nt least a strong infbrenoe against a rigid and gnnetal inqiisi* 
lica agalont th<^ Christians in other parts of the empire. — M. 

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&.D.S24.] OF TBS ROMAK sicpmt. 19 

Capitol of Home; f^ and it appears do lebs singiilaf, that the 
tribute whieh devofioa had deetmed to the* fef mer^ thould hare 
beea coBterted by the power of an assauhiiig vietor to restore 
and adomi the splendor of the latter/* The emperors levied 
a genend oapitatioii iaz on the Jewish people ; and al&e^gh 
the sum assessed on the head of each isdiYidiud was inocHi- 
siderabie, the use for w^ch it was designed, «Bd the severity 
with which it was exacted^ were considered as an intolerable 
grievance.^ 8inee the officers of the revenue Extended their 
unjust dum to maU7 persons who w^re strangers to the blood 
or religion of the Jews, it was impeesible that the Christians, 
who had so often sheltered thems^ves under the shade of 
the sjB^ic^e, should now escape this rapacious persecution. 
Anxious as thej were to avoid the slightest inlection of idola- 
iiy, their ooosci^ce forbade them to contribute to the honor 
of that daemon who bad assumed the charact^ of the Capito- 
liae Japite^ As^ a • very numerous though defining party 
among the Christians still adhered to the law of Moses, their 
eflborts to disseinble their Jewish or^n were detected by the 
decisive test of- ctrcumcision ; *^ nor were the Roman magis- 
trates at leisure to inquire into the difference of their 
religious tenets. Among the Christians who were brought 
•beim the tribunal of the emperor, or, as it seems more prob- 
able, before that of t^e procurator of Judaea^ two persons are 
said to have appeared, distinguished by their extractioo, which 
was more truly noble than that of the greatest monarchs. 
These were the grandsons of St. Jude the appsUe, who.him- 

** TheOapftol was burnt during the dvil war between Vitenius 
and Vespasian, the 19th of December, A. D. 6^. On the 10th of 
Atigfust, A. D. '70, the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed ^y the 
hands of the Jews themselves, rather than by those of the Romans. 

** *the new Capitol was dedicated by Domitiaa Sneton. m Domt- 
tiaa a 6. Platar^ in Poplioola, torn. 1 p. 280, edit. Bryant. The 
^din£^ alone cost 12,000 talentd, (above two millions and a half.) It 
was the opinion of' Miirtial, {t i:t. Epigram $,) that if the emperor had 
called Id his debts, Jupiter himself, eyen though he had made a general 
BoetkHfe of Olympus, would hare been unable to pay two shilbngs in 
the potmd. 

*^ With regard to the tribute, see Dion OassiuS, I Ixvi p. 1083, with 
Iteimams^flfetoteft l^)anheim, de Usu HT'timismatum, torn. ii. p. ^71; 
kkd l^a^nage, Histoire deb Juifs, 1. rii. c. 2. 

**' SaetoHins (in Domitian. c 12) had seen an Old man o^ ninety 
publicly examned before the procurator's tribunal This is what 
Maitiai calls. Ment'ila tributis damnata 

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%i TBB OBGLUfS AND TALL [A. D. 98i. 

self was the brother of Jesus Christ** Ilieir njututal pretelb 
sioDs to the throne of David miffht perhaps attract the respect 
of the people, and excite the jeuousj of the goremor ; but the 
meanness of their garfo, and the aimplicitj of their answers, 
Bocm convinced him that they were neither desirous iior capa- 
ble of disturbiDg the peace of the Roman empire. Thej 
frankly confessed their royal origin, and their near relation to 
fhe Messiah ; but they disclaimed any temporal views, and 
professed that his kingdom, which tbey devoutlyexpeeted, 
was purely of a spiritual and angelic nature. When they 
were examined concerning their fortune and occupation, they 
•howed their hands, hardened with daily labor, and dedaDed 
that they derived tiieir whole subsistence from, the cultiva- 
tion of a farm near the village of Oocaba, of the extent of 
about twenty-four English acares,^' and of the value of nine 
thousand drachms, or three hundred pounds sterling. The 
grandsons <^ 8t, Jude were dismissed with compassion and 
contempt** . . 

But although the obscurity of the house of David m%ht 
protect tbem from the suspicions of a tyrant, the present 
greatness of his own fkmWy alarmed the pusillanimous temper 
of Domitian, which could only be appeased by the Uood of 
those Bomans whom he either feared, or hated, or • esteemed. 
Of the two sons of his uncle Flavius Sabinus,*'. the Met was 
soon convicted of treasonable intentions, and the younger, who 

** This appellation was at first understood in the most obvious 
sense, and it was supposed, that the brothers of Jesus were the law- 
ful issue of Joseph and Mary. A devout respect for the virginity of 
the mother of God suggested to the Gnostics, and afterward to the 
orthodox Greeks, the expedient of bestowing a second wife on Joseph. 
The Latins (from the time of Jerome) improved on that hint, asserted 
the perpetual celibacy of Joseph, and justified by many similar ex- 
amples the new interpretation uiat Jude, as well as Simon and James, 
who were styled the brothers of Jesus Christ, were only his first 
cousins. See Tillemont, Mem. Eodesiat. torn. i. part iii. ; and BeaiMO- 
bre, Hist Critique du Manioheisme, L ii. c. 2. 

** Thirty-nine nXedpa, squares of a hundred feet each, which, if 
strictly computed, would scarcely amount to nine acres. But the 
probability of circumstances, the practice of other Greek writers^ and 
the authority of M. de Valois, incline me to believe that the tXc6^ 
is used to express the Roman jugerum. 
M Eusebius, iil 20. The story is taken from Hegesippusw 
^ See the death and character of Sabinus in Tacitus, (Hist HL 14, 
75.) Sabinus was the elder brother, and, till the accesakn of Yem* 
Kso, had been considered as the principal support of the Flatlia 

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&*D. 324.] OF THS ROMAN SMPUJ^ $§ 

bore the name of Flavius ClemeDs, was indebted for his safe^ 
to bis want of courage and ability.^' The emperor for a long 
time, distinguished so harmless a kinsman by his fayor and 
protection, bestowed on him his own niece Domitilla, adopted 
the children of that mamage to. the hope of the succession, and 
invested their father with the honors of the consulship. 

But he had scaroely finished the termx^ his annual magis- 
tracy, when, on a slight pretence, he was condemned and 
executed ; Domitilla was banished to a desolate island on the 
coast of Campania;." and sentences either of death or of 
confiscatiou were pronounced against a great number of per^ 
sons who were involved in the same accusation. The guilt 
imputed to their charge was that of Atheism and JewisJi man- 
ners ;*^ a singular a^soaiation of ideas, which cannot with 
any propriety be appUed except to the Christians, as they 
were obscurely and imperfecUy viewed by the magistrates 
and by the writers of that period. On . the strength of so 
probable an interpretation, and too eagerly admitting the sup* 
picions of a tyrant as an evidence of their hoAorable crime, 
the church has placed both Clemens and Domitilla among its 
first martyrs, and has branded the cruelty of Doraitian with 
the name of the second persecution. But this pei*secution 
(if it deserves that epithet) was of no long duration, . A few 
months after the death of Clemens, and the banishment of 
Domitilla, Stephen, a freedman belonging to the latter, who 
had enjoyed the 4vor, but who had not surely embraced the 
faith, of his mistress,*" assassinated the emperor in. his pal- 
ace." The memory of Domitian was condemned by the 

^> Flavium Clementem patruelem suum conten^isaimoi inerticam . . 
ex tenuissimlt suspicione interemit Sueton. in Domitian. c. 16. 

•* The Isle of Pandataria, according to Dion. Bruttius Praesens 
(npad Euseb. iil 18) banishes her to that of Pontia, which was not far 
distant from the other. That difiference, and a mistake, either of Euse- 
Dius or of his transcribers, have given oceasion to suppose two Domi* 
tillas, the wile and the niece of Clemens. See TillKnont^ M6moireA 
Ecclesiastiques, torn. ii. p. 224. 

** Dion. L Ixvii. p. 1112. If the Brattius Prsdsens, from whomii 
is probable that be collected thb account, was the correspondent of 
Piiny, (Epistol. vii 3,) we may consider him as a contemporary 

•* Suet in Pomit c. 1*7. Philostratus in Vit. ApoUon. L viii 

- * This is an tmcandid sarcasm. There is nothing to ccxmect Btuphea 
vrith the religion of Domitilla. He was a knave detected in the malyerst* 
tkm of money — ^interceptarum pecuniaram reus. — M, 
VOL. II — B 

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)y Google 

tl ntE DECUNB AND FALL [A.D. S24. 

genate; his acts were resdnded; bis exiles recalled; and under 
tbe gentle administration of Nenra, while the innocent were 
restored to their rank and fortunes, even the most guiltj either 
obtained pardon or escaped punishment** 

U. About ten years afterwards, under the leign of Trajan, 
the younger Pliny was intrusted by his friend and master with 
the government of Bithynia and Pontus. He soon found him- 
self at a loss to determine by what rule of justice or of law 
he should direct his conduct in the execution of an office the 
most repugnant to his humanity. PHny had never assisted at 
any judicid proceedings agwnst the Christians, with whose 
name alone he seems to he acquainted ; and he was totally 
ilninformed with regard to the nature of their guilt, the method 
'^ their conviction, and the degree of their punishment. In 
this perplexity he had recourse to his usual expedient, of sub- 
mitting to the wisdom of Trajan an impartial, and, in some 
respects, a favorable account of the new superstition, request 
ing the emperor, that he would condescend to resolve his 
doubts, and to instruct his ignorance.*' The life of Pliny had 
been employed in the acquisition of ^earning, and in the 
business of the world. Since the age of nineteen he had 
pleaded with distinction in the tribunals of Rome,** filled a 
place in the senate, had been invested with the honors of the 
consulship, and had formed very numerous connections with 
every order of men, both in Italy and in the provinces. From 
hid ignorance therefore we may derive some useful informa- 
tion. We may assure ourselves, that when he accepted the 
government of Bithynia, there were no general laws or de- 
crees of the senate in force against the Christians ; that nei- 
ther Trajan nor any of his virtuous predecessors, whose edicts 


•• Dion. 1. Ixviu. p. 1118. Plin. Epistol iv. 22. 

'' Plin. Epistol. x. 9*7. Tlie learned Mosheim expresses hiniself 
147, 2S2) with the higliesfc approbation of Pliny's moderate and can- 

id temper. Notwithstanding I>r. Lardner's suspicions (see Jewish and 
Heathen Testimonies, vol ii. p. 46,) I am unable to discover any bigotry 
in his language or proceedings.* 

•* Plin. Epist V. 8. He pleaded his first cause A. D. 81 ; the year 
after the famous eruptions of Mocmt Vesuvius, in whi^ his uncle lost 
his life. 

* Yet the humane PHny pat two female attendants, probably c 
to the tomire, in order to ascertain the real natuie of these saspicioos meel^ 
logs: necessariam credidi, ex duabus ancillis, qnas niinistraB dicebaiitor 
QQid eflsat veri et per UyrmenUi qaeerere. — M. 

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A.D.di24.] Of THE ROMXK SMPIRiC. if 

were receited into the ciyil and eriimiial jarispnideDot}, faai 
publidy declared their intentions oonoeming the n«m teot; 
and that wfaixtever proceedings had been carried on agaiost 
the Christians, there were none of snffieient weight and au- 
thorily to establbh a precedent ht the oonduct of a Roman 

The answer of Trajan, to which the Ghristians of the sue* 
oeeding age have frequeotlj appealed, discovers as much 
regard for justice and humanity as could be recondkd with 
bis mistaken notions of religious policy.** Instead of dis- 
pkying the implacable zeal of an inquisitor, anuoas to dis- 
cover thd most minute partades of heresy, and exulting in the 
number of his victims, the emperor expresses much mofb 
solicitude to protect the security of the innocent, than to pw^ 
vent the escape of the guilty. He acknowledged (he difficulty 
of fixing any general plan ; but he lays down two salutary 
rules, which c&m afibrded rehef and wappcrt to the distressed 
Christians. Though he directs the magistrates to punish such 
persons as are legally convicted, be pYombLts tb^n, with a very 
humane inconsistency, from making any inquiries concerning 
the supposed criminals. Nor was the magistrate allowed to 
proceed on every kind of information. Anonymous charges 
the emperor rejects, as too repugnant to the equity of his gov- 
ernment ; and he strictly requires, for the conviction of those 
to whom the guilt of Christianity is imputed, the positive evi- 
dence of a fair and open accuser. It is likewise piobable, 
that the persons who assumed so invidiuous an office, were 
obliged to declare the grounds of their susj^cions, to specify 
(bo& in respect to time and j^ace) the secret assemUies, 
which their Christian adveisafy had frequented, and to dis" 
close a great number of circumstances, which were concealed 
with the most vigilant jealousy from the eye of the profane. 
If they succeeded in their prosecution, they were exposed to 
the resentment of a considerable and active party, to the cen- 
sure of the more liberal portion of mankind, and to the igno- 
miny which, in every age and country, has attended the 
ebanioter of an infbrmi^. li^ on the contrary, they Med in 
their proofe, they incurred the severe and perhaps capital 

" Plin. Epist z. 98. l^erttillian (Apdog. c 5) oonsiders this 
nsBcript aft a relaxatioa of the sncieat penal laws, ** quae Trajanas ex 
parte frustratus est:'' and yet Tertullian, in aoother part of his Apol- 
ogy, exposes the inconsistency of prohibiting inquiries, and enjoining 

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4^841 THB 0£CIIN£ AND FALL [A. D. 824. 

pftfiiRity, wliieb, aodotdiog to a Uw published by the -empeiioi 
Hadriaoy was inflicted ou those who fakely attributed to their 
feUow-i^tizens the crime of GhristiaQity. The violeBoe . of 
personal or superstitioiu aDimosity might sometimes prevail 
over the meet iitatural apprehensions of disgrace and danger ; 
but it cannot surely be imagined, that accusations of so un- 
promising an appearance were either lightly or frequently 
undevtaken by the Pagan subjects of the Roman empjre/^ * 

The expedient which was employed to elude the prudence 
of the laws, afibrds a sufficient proof how effectually they dis- 
appointed the mischievous designs of private mciSce or super- 
stitious zeaL In a large and tumultuous assembly, the restraints 
of fear and shame, so fordble on the minds of individuals, are 
deprived of the greatest part of their influence. The pious 
Christian, as he was .desirous to obtain, or to escape, the glory 
of martyrdom, exped^d, either with impatience or with terror, 
the stated returns, of the public games and festivals. On those 
occasions the inhabitants of the great cities of ^he empire were 
collected in the circus or the tl\eati5e, where every drcum- 
stance of the place, as well as of the ceiremony, contributed 
to kindle their devotion, and to extinguish their bumanity. 
Whilst the numerous spectators, crowned with garlands, per- 
fumed with incense, purified with tibie blopd of victims, and 
surrounded with the altars and statues of their tutelar deities, 
resigned themselves to the enjoyment of pleasures, which they 
cousideced as an essential part of. their religious worship, 
they recollected, that . the Christian^ alone abhorred the gods 
of maukiadi and by their absence and melancholy on theso 
solemn festivals, seemed to insult or to lament the public- 
felicity. If the empire had been afflicted by any recent calam- 

*° Eusebius (BList. £ccle9iasi 1. iv. c. 9) bfts preserved the edict of 
Hadrian. He has likewise (c. 13) given us one still more favorable, 
under the name of Antoninus ; the authenticity of which is not so uni- 
versally allowed. The second A'pology of Justin contains some curious 
partioulan relative to the ac61isationa of Christians.! - - 

* The enactment of thia low a£Ebrda strong, ptesnmptioii, that accuMlidtia 
of the '* crime of Christiaaity/' were by no meaos soxiQconimoii, nor received 
with so miich mistrust aud caution by the roling authorities, as Gibbon 
would insinuate. — M. 

t Prafesflor Hegi^lmmyer has prored the antheikticity of the edict of An- 
uminuji^ in his Comm. Hist. TheoL in JGdkt. Imp. AntoninL Tubini;. 1777^ 
m 4to.— G. 

Neander doubts its autlienticity, (vol. i. p. 153.) In my opinion, the. internal 
ti^Idence is decisive ag-ainst it. — M 

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A. D.324.J OF THE ROMAN EMPXRR. '^ ^^^ . 

ity, bj a plagiie, a femine, or an unsuccessful war , if tb« 
Tyber had, or if the Nile had not, risen beyond its banks ; if 
the earth had shaken, or if the temperate order of the seasons 
had been interrupted, the superstitious Pagans were convinced 
that the crimes and the impiety of the Christians, who were 
spared by the excessive lenity of the goveniment, had at 
length provoked the divine justice. It was not among a 
licentious and exasperated populace, that the forms of legal 
proceedings could be ol)8erved ;■ it was not in an amphitheatre, 
stained with the blood of wild beasts and gladiators, that the 
voice of compassion could be heard. The impatient clamors 
of the multitude denounced the Christians as the enemies of 
gods and men, doomed them to the severest tortures, and ven- 
turing to accuse by name some of the most distinguished of 
the new sectaries, required with irresistible vehemence that 
they should be instantly apprehended and cast to the lions.** 
The provincial governors and magistrates who presided in the * 
public spectacles were usually inclined to gratify the inclina- 
tions, and to appease the rage, of the people, by the sacrifice 
of a few obnoxious victims. But the wisdom of the emperors 
protected the church from the danger of these tumultuous 
clamors and irregular accusations, which they justly censured 
as repugnant both to the firmness and to the equity of theii 
administration. The edicts of Hadrian and of Antoninus Pius 
expressly declared, that the voice of the multitude should 
never be admitted as legal evidence to convict or to punish 
those unfortunate persons who had embraced the enthusiasm 
of the Christians.** 

III. Punishment was not the inevitable consequence of con- 
viction, and the Christians, whose guilt was the most clearly 
proved by the testimony of witnesses, or even by their volun- 
tary confession, still retained in. their own power the altema- 
tivo of life or death. It was not so mueh the past offence, ah 
the actual resistance, which excited the indignation of the 
magistrate. He was persuaded that he offered them an easy 
pardon, since, if they consented to cast a few grains of incense 
upon the altar, they were dismissed from the tribunal in safety 
and with applause. It was esteemed the duty of a humane 

*' See TertuUian, (Apolog. c 40.) The acts of the martyrdom of 
picture of these tumults^ which were usually 
rthe Jews, 
regulations are inserted in the ahove mentione*! f^^a of 
Hadrian and Pius. See the apology of Melito, (apud Euwb. I h « 

Polycarp exhibit a Uvely pic 
fomented by the malice of th 
• •* fHiese regulations are ic 

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judge to endeavor to reclaim, rather than to punish,. those 
deluded enthusiasts. Varying his tone according to the age, 
the sex, or the situation of the prisoners, he frequently con- 
descended to set before their eyes every ciicumstanoe which 
could render life more pleasing, ot death more terrible ; and 
to solicit, nay, to entreat, them, that they would show some 
compassion to themselves, to their fitmilies, and to their 
friends.*^ If threats and persuasions proved ineffectual, he 
had often recourse to violence ; the scourge and the rack were 
called in to supply the deficiency of ai^ument, and every art 
of cruelty was employed to subdue such inflexible, and, as it 
appeared to the Pagans, such crinunal, obstinacy. Hie 
ancient apologists of Christianity have censured, with equal 
truth and severity, the irregular conduct of their persecutors, 
who, contrary to every principle of judicial proceeding, ad- 
mitted the use of torture, in order to obtain, not a confession, 
but a denial, of the crime which was the object of Cheir 
inquiry.** The monks of succeeding ages, who, in their 
peaceful solitudes, entertained themselves with diversifying 
the deaths and sufferings of the primitive martyrs, have fte- 
quentiy invented torments of a much more refined and inge- 
nious nature. In particular, it has pleased them to suppose, 
that the zeal of the Roman magistrates, disdaining every con- 
sideration of moral virtue or public decency, endeavored to 
seduce those whom they were unable to vanquish, and that by 
ilieir orders the most brutal violence was offered to those 
whom they found it impossible to seduce. It is related, that 
|}ious females, who were prepared to despise death, were 
ft'imetimes condemned to a more severe trial,f and called 

•» See the rescript of Trajan, and the conduct of Pliny. ITie most 
authentic acts of the martyrs abound in these iexhortations.* 

•* In particular, see Tertullian, ^Apolog. c 2, 8,) and Lactantius, 
(Institut Divia v. 9.) Their reasonings are almost the same ; but we 
may discover, that one of these apologists bad been a lawyer, and ihe 
other a rhetorician. 

• Pliny's test was the worship of the gods, offerings to the statue of the 
emperor, and hlaspheming Christ— prceterea maledicerent Christo. — ^M. 

t The more ancient as well as aatfaentio memorials of the church, relate 
many examples of the fact, (of these tevere trials,) yf^kih there is nothiog 
to contradict Tertollian, among others, says, Nam proximo ad lenoncm 
damnando Christianam, potius quam ad leonem, confessi estis I^>em padi< 
citiflB apad nos atrociorem omni poeni et omni morte repntari, Apol. cap. 
alt Eqaebias likewise says, ** Other virgins, dragged to brothels, bare loM 
dieir life rather than defile their virtue." Easeb. Hist Ecc viii 14.^-G. 

The miraculous interpositions were the o£&pring of the coarse ' 
llniia of the mollis. — M. 

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A. D. 324.] OV THE ROMAN £MPIRG. 81 

apon to detennine whether they set a higher value on their 
religion or on their chastity. The youths to whose licentious 
embraces they were abandoned, received a solemn exhortation 
from the judge, to exert their most strenuous efforts to main- 
tain the honor of Venus against the impious virgin who refused 
to bum incense on her altars. Their violence, however, was 
commonly disappointed, and the seasonable interposition of 
some miraculous power preserved the chaste spouses of Christ 
from the dishonor even of an involuntary defeat. We should 
not indeed neglect to remark, that the more ancient as well as 
authentic memorials of the church are seldom polluted with 
these extravagant and indecent fictions." 

The total disregard of truth and probability in the repre^ 
fientadon of these primitive martyrdoms was occasioned by a 
very natural mistake. The ecclesiastical writers of the fourth 
or fifth centuries ascribed to the magistrates of Home the same 
degree of implacable and unrelenting zeal which filled their 
own breasts against the heretics or the idolaters of their own 
times. It is not improbable that some of those persons who 
were reused to the dignities of the empire, might have imbibed 
the prejudices of the populace, and mat the cruel disposition 
of others might occaiuonally be stimulated by motives of ava- 
rice or of peeonal resentment.** But it is certain, and we 
may appeal to the grateftd confessions of the first Christians, 
that the greatest part of those magistrates who exercised in 
the provinces the authority of the emjperor, or of the senate, 
^nd to whose bands alone the jurisdiction of life and death 
was intrusted, behaved like men of ^lished manners and 
liberal education, who respected the rules of justice, and who 
were conversant with the precepts of philosophy. They fre- 
quently declined the odious task of persecution, dismissed the 
charge with contempt, or suggested to the accused Christian 
some legal evasion, by which he might elude the severity of 

** See two instances' of this kind of torture in the Acta Sincert 
Martynim, published by Buinaxt, p 160, 399. Jerome, in his liCgend 
of Paul the Hermit, tells a strange story of a young man, who was 
chained naked on a bed of flowers, and assaulted by a beautiful aiitl 
wanton courtesan. He quelled the rising temptation by biting off hi^ 

** The conversion of his wife provoked Olaudius Horminianus 
governor of Cappadocia, to treat the Christians with unoominaD 
^verity. Tertullian ad Scapulam, c. 8. 

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flie laws. ' Whenever they were invested with a discretionary 
power," they used it much less for the oppression, than for 
the relief and benefit of the aflSicted church.' They were far 
from condemning all the Christians who were accused before 
their tribunal, and very fer from punishing with death all those 
who were convicted of. an obstinate adherence to the new 
superstition. Contenting themselves, for the most part, with 
the milder chastisements of imprisonment, exile, or slavery in 
the mines,"' they left the unhappy victims of their justice 
some reason to hope, that a prosperous event, the accession, 
the marriage, or the triumph of an . emperor, might speedily 
^restore them, by a general pardon, to their former state. The 
martyrs, devoted to immediate execution by the Roman magis- 
trates, appear to have been selected from the most opposite 
extremes. They were either bishops and presbyters, the per- 
sons the most distinguished among the Christians by their rank 
and influence, and whose example might strike terror into the 
whole sect ; ^* or else they were the meanest and most abject 
among them, particularly those of the servile condition, whose 
lives were esteemed of little value, and whose sufferings were 

" TerttilHan, in his epistle to the gorernor of AJQrica, mentioin 
several remarkable instances of lenity and forbearance, which had 
happened within his knowledge. 

*® Neque enim in nniversum aliquid quod quasi certam formam 
liabeat, constitui potest; an expresfiiii of Trajan, wliich gave a very 
great latitude to the goveinors of provinces.* 

^* In Metalla damnamur, in insmas relegtimur. Tertullian, Apok)g. 
c. 12. The mines of Numidia contained .niae bishops, with a proper* 
tionable number of their cler^ and people, to whom Cypnan ad- 
dressed a pious epistle of praise and comfort. See Cyprian. Epistol. 
76, Tl ^ ■' ■. • 

'* Though we cannot receive with entire confidence either the 
epistles, or the acts, of Ignatios, (they may be found in the 2d 
volume of the Apostolic Fathers,) yet we may quote that bishop of 
Antioch as one of these exemplary martyrs. He was sent in chains to 
Rome as a public spectacle, and when he arrived at Troas,he received 
the pleasing intelligence, that the persecution of Antioch was already 
at an eudf ___^ 

• Gibhon altogether forgets that Trajan fully approved of the coarse 
pursued by Pliny. That course was, to order^ all who persevered in thetr 
faith to be led to execution : peraeverantes duci ju8si.-*M. 

i The acts of Ignatius are generally received as auth^itic, as are sefven 
of his letters. Eusebius and St. Jerome mention them: there are twc 
editions; in one, the letters are longer, and many passa^ appear to have 
been interpolated ; the other editum is that which contains the real lottvi 
of St Ignatius; such at least is the opinion of the wisest and mat0 
snlightened critics. (See Lardner. Cred. of Gospel Hist.) Less, uber 4k 

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Ik. D. 324.] or the roman emfirs. SI 

nmred bj tho aadentB xvith too careless an indifferettec/' 
The learned OrigeD,.wEa, from his experience as well as read* 
jng, was intimately a<$c[ii»nted with the history of the Chris- 
tiiiDs, declares, in the most express terms, that the nnmber of 
martyrs was very inconsiderable/* His authority wonld alone 
be safficaent to annihilate that formidable army oT martyrs, 
whose relics, d»awn for the most part irom the catacombs of 
Rome, ha?e replenished so many churches,** and whose mar- 
Fellons achievements have been the subject of so many 
vohimes of Holy Remslnee.*^ But the general assertion of 

^^ Among the nmrtyrs of Lyobs, (Easeb. L v. c. 1,) the slave Blam 
dina was distiogak9hed \jy more exquisite tortures. Of the five mar- 
tyrs 80 much, celebrated in the acta of Felicitas and Perpetua, two 
were of a servile, and two others of a very mean, condition. 

'* Origen. advers. Celsnm, 1. iii. p. 116. His words deserve to bo 
tmnscribed. " 'OXiydt icatit mtpo^Sj Kot wpMpa IvapiBjirirH intp tJJs 
\piornotu» 6€ooe0tiat TtBp^wft ** * .... 

^' If we recollect that all the Plebeians of Kome were net ChnBtiana, 
and that all the" Christians were not saints and martyrs, we may judge 
with how much safety religious honors can be ascribed to bones or 
urns, ifididcrifi^iiittitely taken from the public burial-place. After ten 
centuries of a very free ttid open tnsde, some suspicions have arisen 
amoD^ the taore learned Cathodes. They now require as a proof of 
sanctity and martyrdom, the letters B. M.,avial full of red liquor 
supposed to be blood, or the figure of a palm-tree. But the two for- 
mer signs are of little weight, and with regard to the last, it is observed 
by the critics, 1. That the figure, as it is called, of a palm, ia perhaps 
a cypress, and perhaps only a stop, the flourish of a comma used m 
the monumental inscriptions. 2. That the palm was the symbol of 
victory among the Pagans. . 3. That amoqg the Christians it served 
as the emblem, not only of martyrdom, but in general of a joyful 
resurrection. See the epistle of P. Mabillon, on the worship of un- 
known saints, and Muratori sopra le Antichiti Italiane, Dissertat. lvi»* 

''* As a specimen of these legends, we may be satisfied with lO.OM. 
Christian soldiers crucified in one day, either by Trajan or Hadriai, 
on Moimt Ararat See Baronius ad Martyrolc^om Komanum ; Tille- 
mont, M6m. Ecclesiast. torn iL part ii. p. 438 ; and Geddes's Mi»«|»l- 

Betigion, v. i. p. 55^. ' Usser. Diss, de Ign. Epist. Pearson, Vindic. Tgn& 
tianiB. It should he remarked, that it was under the reign of Trajan that 
die hiahoi> Ignatius was carried from Antioch to Borne, to be exposed tc 
the lions in tfa& azopfalliieatre, the year of J. C. 107, according to some; of 
13 0, according to otbe». — G. 

* The words that follow lAioald be quoted: ''God not permitting that 
al. hisdaMof men shoaM be exterminated:" which appears to indicate 
that .Origen thoagfat the number put to death inconsiderable only when 
oomparea to the numbers who had sarvired. Besides this, he is speaking 
of the state of the religion und«r Caracaila, Elagabalus, Alexander Beverus^ 
mA FInlip, who bad not persecuted the Christians. It was during tlit reigt 
if the latter that Origen wrote his books aga.nst Cclsns. — Q. 

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14 rBB OfCLINE AND FALL [xV.D.rai 

Origen may be explained and confirmed by the pariiciilartca- 
timony oi his friend Diooyaius, who^ in the immeBae city of 
Alexandria^ and under the rigovouB penecutioiL of Deaasi 
reckona only ten men and aeven women who anfieied for the 
profession of the Christian name." 

During the same period of perseeutioDt the aealoua, the 
eloquent, the ambitious Cyprian governed the churoh^ not only 
of Carthage, but even <^ Africa. He poeaeflsed ewrj quaht) 
which could engs^ the reverence of ue fiuthful^ or pnyvoke 
the suspicions and resentment of the f agan magisteatcs. His 
character as well as his station seemed to mark out that holy 
prelate as the most distinguished object of envy and danger.** 
The experience, however, of the life of Cyprian, is sufficient 
to prove that our fimcy has exs^gerated the perilous situation 
of a Christian bishop; and the dangers to which he was 
exposed were less imminent than those which temporal am- 
bition is always prepared to encounter in the pursuit of 
honors. Four R<Hnan emperors, with their fiimilies, their 
favorites, and their adherents, perished by the sword in the 
space of ten years, during which the iMshop of Carthage 
guided by his authority and eloquence the ooundls of the 
African ^uidi. It was only in the third year of his adminis- 
tration, that he had reason, during a few. months, to apprehend 

lames, vol il p. 208. The abbreyiaiion of Mil., which may signify 
either BoidUrt or thouaanch, is said to hare occasioned dome extraor- 
dinary mutakea. 

** DionyBiiifl ap. Eoseb. 1. tI c 41 One of the Berenteen was like- 
wise accused of robbery * 

'• The letters of Oyprian exhibit a very curious and original picture 
both of the man and of the time». See bkewise the two lives of Cy- 
prian, composed with equal accuracy, though with very different 
views ; the one by Le Clere (Bibliothdque Imiverselle, torn, zil p. 
208 — 878,) the o^er by TWlemont, Mfimoires Ecdesiastiques, torn. iv. 
part I p. 76—469. 

* GibhoD ought to have said, was iaUely accoaed of robbefy, for so itis in 
the Greek text This Cbriatian, named Nemaaon, frlaely aoeased of rob* 
bery before the oentarkm, was aoqaitted of a oriiiie altogether fiweign to his 
character, {dXXoTpiuTiriAv,) bat be was led before the govcgiior as gaSty 
of being a Christian, and the governor inflicted apon hira a doable tortare. 
(Easeb. loc. cit) It must be added, that Saint Dionysias only makes 
particular mention of the principal martyrs, [this is veiy doabtniL~-M..] 
and that he says, in genenJ, that the fory of the Pagans againsc the 
Christians gave to Alexandria the appearance of a city taken by storm. 
[This refers to plonder and ill nsaqe, not to actoal slangfator.— M.] FinaUy 
It shonld be observed that Origen wrote before the pwseoatkn of IIm ia^ 
ueror Decins.— G. 

Digitized by 


A*D,324.] OF SHE ftOMAN BMPIRB. 8^ 

the seTtfre edipts of Deoius, the vigilance of the inf^tratey 
and the damors ci tile multitiide^ wha loudly demanded, that 
C^rian, the leader of the Obriitiana, should be thrown to the 
lions« Prudence suggested the necessity *of a temporary 
retreat, and die voice of prudence was obeyed. He wiuidrew 
himself into an obscufe solitude, from whence he could main* 
tain a constant conrespondence with the clergy and people of 
Oarth^e ; and, concealing himself till the tempest was past^ 
he preserved his life, without relinquishing either his power or 
his Deputation. His extreme caution did not^ however, escape 
the censure ol the more rigid Christians, who lamented, or the 
reproaches of his personal enemies, who insulted, a conduct 
which they considered as a pusillanimous and criminal deser* 
tion of the most sa^ed duty." The propriety of reserving 
himself fi>r the future esdgencies of the church, the example 
of several h<^y biBhope,^* and the divine admonitions, which, 
as he dediies himse^, he frequently received in visions and 
ecstasies, were the reasons alleged in his justification.** But 
lus beat apdogy may be found in the cheerful resolution, with 
whid^ about eight years afterwards, he suffered death in the 
cause of religion. The authentic history of his martyrdom 
has been recorded with unusual candor and impartiality. A 
short abstract, therefore, of its most important circumstances, 
will convey the .clearest information of the [^irity and of the 
forms, of tlie Roman persecutions.** 

When Valerian waei consul for the third, and Gallienus foi 
\he fourth time, Patemus, proconsul of Africa, summoned 
Oyprian to appear in his private council-chamber. He there 
acquainted him with the Imperial mandate which he had just 

^* See the polite but severe epistle of the clergy of Borne to the 
bishop of Carthaffe. ^Cyprian. Epist. 8, 9.) Pontius labors with the 
greatest care and diligence to justify his master against the general 

^^ In particular those of Dionysius of AlezaQdria^ and Qregor; 
Thaunmturgus, p( Neo-Csesarea. See Euseb. Hist Kcdesiast L vi i: 
40 ; and Memoires de Tillemont^ torn. iv. part u. p. 685. 

''* See Cyprian. Epist 16, and lus life by Pontius. 

^ We have an oi^iginal life of Cyprian by the deacon Pontius, the 
companion of lus eime, and the spectator of Mb death; and we like- 
wise possess the ancient proconsular acts of his martyrdom. These 
two relations are consistent with each other, and with probability; 
md what is somewhat remarkable, they are both un«nlHf>d by any 
■uracoIouB eurcumstances. 

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received,*^ that those \7ho had abandoned the Roman reli^oti 
should immediately return to the practice -of the oereraoaiei 
of their ancestore. Cyprian replied without hesitaticm, that 
he was a Christian and a bishop, devoted to the worship of the 
true and only Deity, to whom he offered up his daily supplica- 
tions for the safety and prosperity of the two emperors, his 
lawful sovereigns. With modest confidence he pleaded the 
privilege of a citizen, in refusing to give any answer to some 
inWdious and indeed illegal questions which the proccHisul had 
proposed. A sentence of banishment was pronounced as the 
penalty of Cyprian's disobedisnoe ; and he was conducted 
without delay to Curubis, a fir^e and maritime city of Zeugi- 
tania,in a pleasant situation, a fertile territory, and at the 
distance of about forty miles from Carthage.*' The exiled 
bishop enjoyed the conveniences of life and the cc^fjciousness 
of virtue. His reputation was diflfused over Africa afod Italy ; 
an account of his behavior was published for the edification of 
the Christian world;** and his solitude was frequency inter* 
rupted by the letters, the visits, and the congratulations of the 
faithful. On the arrival of a new proconsul in the province 
the fortune of Cyprian appeared for some time to wear a^stil) 
more favorable aspect. He was recalled from banishment ; 
and though not yet permitted to return to Carthage, his own 
gardens^ in the neighborhood of the capital were assigned for 
the place of his residence.** 

At lengtii, exactly one year** after Cyprian was first 

*^ It should eeem that these were circular ordera, sent at the same 
time to all the governors. Dionysius (ap. Euseb. L vii. c. 11) relates 
the history of liis own banishment from Alexandria almost in the same 
manner. But as he escaped and survived the persecution, we must 
account him either more or less fortunate than Cyprian. 

** See Plin. Hist Natur. v. 8. CeUarius, Geograph. Antlq. part iii 
p. 96. Shaw's Travels, p. 90 ; and for "flie adjacent coxmtry, (which is 
terminated by Cape Bona, or the promontory of Mercuxy,) TAfrique de 
MarmoL torn. ii. p. 494. There are the remains of an aqueduct near 
Curubis, or Curbis, at present altered into Ourbes ; alid Dr. Shaw read 
an inscription, which styles that city Oolonta Fuhia. The deacon 
Pontius (in Vit Cyprian, c 12) csSSs it " Apricum et competentem 
locum, hospitium pro voluntate secretum, et quicquid apponi eis vitc 
proniissum est, qm regnum et justitiam Dei quaerunt." 

•* See Cyprian. Epistol IT, edit. Fell. 

" Upon his conversion, he had sold those gardens for the benefit oi 
llie poor. The indulgence of God (most probiibly the liberality c£ some 
Christian friend) restored them to Cyprian. See Pontius, c 15. 

•• When Cyprian, a twelvemonth before, was sent into eadle, 1m 
dreamt tliat he should be put to death the next day. The ev^nt 

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apprtcheitided, Galsrius Maxnaus, prooonsul of Africa, received 
the Imperial w?«irraiit for the execution <rf the Christian teach- 
ers. The bishop of Carthi^ was sensible that he should be 
singled out for one of the fifst victims ; and the frailty of 
nature tempted him to withdraw himself, by a secret flight, 
from the danger and the honor of martyrdom;* but soon 
recovering that foriitade which his character t^uired, he 
returned to his gardens, and patiently expected the ministers 
of death. Two officers of rank, who were intrusted with that 
commission, placed Cyprian between them in a chariot ; and 
as the prooonsul was not then at leisure, they conducted him, 
not to a prison, but to ^a private iiouse in Carthage, which 
belonged to one of them. An elegant supper was provided 
for the entertainment of the bishop, and bis Christian friends 
were permitted for the last time to enjoy his society, whilst 
the streets were filled with a multitnde of the fetthfu), anxious 
and alarmed at the approaching fete of their spiritual father.** 
In the morning he appeared before the tribunal of the pr<ieon- 
sul, who, after informing himself of thoname and situation of 
Cyprian, commanded him to ofier sacrifice, and pressed him 
to reflect on the consequences of his disobedience. The 
refittal of Cyprian was firm and decisive ^ and the magistrate, 
when he had taken tfee opinion of his council, pronounced 
with some reluctance the sentence of death. It was conceived 
in the following terms : "That Thascius Cyprianus should be 

made it necessary to explain that word, as signify^ing a year. Pontiua» 
c. 12. 

*• Pontins (c. 15) acknowledges fhat Cyprian, with whom he sup- 
ped, passed tlie n^ht custodi& delieata.-- The bishop exercised a 
last and very proper, act of jurisdiction, by directing that the younger 
females, who watched in the streets, should he removed from the 
dangers and temptations of a nocturnal crowd. Act^ Pr'^conaularia, 

* This was not, as it appears, the motive which induced St. Cyprian ti 
ecmceal himself for a short time ; he was threatened to be carried to Utica; 
he preferred remaining at Carthage, in order to snlFer martyrdom in the 
midst of his flock, and in order that his death might condace to the edifi- 
eation of &ose whom he had guided during life. Such, at least, is his own 
ezplnnation of his conduct in one of his letters: Cum perlatum ad noa 
foisset, fratres carisslmi, irumentarios esse missos qui me Uticam per* 
duoerent, oonsiHoqae carissimorum persuasum est, ut de hottis interim 
Roederemus, justA interveniente causA, oonsensi ; eo qtwd coagruat epis- 
eopam in «A eivitate, in qu& Ecdesies dominiciB pneest, illie Ddmixiaia 
eonfiteri et plnbcnt univoraara pmpositi prsesentts oonfessione clariileari 
'^1. 83.— G 

Digitized by 



unmediately beheaded, as the ^oemy oi the gcnh of R^dm^ 
and as the chief and ringleader of a eriouoal assooiatioD, 
which he had seduced into an impious resistance against the 
laws of the most holy emperors, Valerian and G^lienus."** 
The manner of his execution was the mildest and I'east painful 
that could be inflicted on a person convicted of any capital 
offence ; nor was the use of torture admitted to obtain from 
the bfohop of Carthage either t]ie recantation of his prinoiples^ 
or the disoovery of his aooomplioe& 

As soon as Uie sentence was prodaimed, a general cry of 
* We will die with him," arose at once am^ng the listening 
multitude of Christians who waited before the palace gates. 
The generous effiisions of their zeal and their affection were 
neither serviceable to Cyprian nor dangerous to themselves, 
lie was led away under . a guard of tribunes and centurions, 
without resistance and without insult, to the plaoft of his exe- 
cution, a spacdous and level plain near the city, which was 
already filled with great numbers of spectators. His £^thful 
presbyters and deacons were permitted to accompany their 
holy t>ishop.* They assisted him in taying aside his upper 
gannent, spread Hnen on the ground to. ciMioh the precious 
relics of his blood, and received his orders to bestow five-and- 
twenty pieces of gold on the executioner. ThQ martyr then 
covered his face with his hands, and at one blow his head Wm 
separated from his body. His corpse remained during some 
hours exposed to the curiosity of the Gentiles : but in the night 
it was removed, and transported in a triumphal procession, 
and with a splendid illumination, to the burial-place of the 
Christians. The funeral of Cyprian was publicly celebrated 
without receiving any interruption from the Roman magis- 
trates ; and those among the faithful, who had performed the 
last offices to his person and his memory, were secure from 
the danger of inquiry or of punishment. It is remarkable, 
that of so great a multitude of bishops in the province of 

" See the original sentence in the Acts, a 4 ; and in Pontius, c. 17 
The latter expresses it in a more rhetorical manner. 

* There is nothing in the life of St Cypri&D, by Pontius, inor in the. ancient 
manqflcripts, winch can make us suppose that the preshyten and deacoms 
In their clerical character, anil known to be such, had the permission to 
attend their holy bishop. Setting aside aU religions considerations, it is 
fanposflible not to be sorprised at the kind of complaisance with wUch the 
historian here faisista, in &vor of the persecutors, on seme mitigating cireiu» 
■tanees allowed at the death of a man whose only crime was msmtaittiog 
kiM own opinions with franks ^ss ard courage. — G. 

Digitized by 


A.D«324.] OV THE ROMAN UiPIUX. tf 

Afiioa, Cypriau was the fiiftt.wbo wm ^leemed w^ttfiyto 
obtain the erown of martyTdom.** 

It was in the choice of Cyprian, ather to die a martyr, or 
to live an apostate ; but on the choice d^nded the altenaa- 
tive of honor or in&tny. Could we si^poae that the bishop 
of Carthage had employed the profefisiott of the Chr^an 
Guth onl^ as the inatnimeni of his avarice or amlHtion, it 
was still incumbent on him to support the character he had 
assumed ;** and if he possessed the smallest degree of manly 
fortitude, rather to expose himself to the most cruel tortures, 
than by a single act to exchange the reputation of a whole life, 
for the abhorrence of his Christian brethren, and the contempt 
of the Gentile world. But if the seal of Oy^pma was sup- 
ported by the sincere conviction of the truth of those doctrines 
which he preached, the crown of martyrdom must have 
appeared to Inm as an object of desire rathor than of tenon 
It is not easy to extract any distinct ideas from the vague 
thongh eloquent dedamations oi the Fathers, or to ascertain 
the ^gree <^ immortal glory and happness which they con- 
fidently promised to those who were so Ibrtunate as to shed 
their blood in the cause of religi<HL** They indicated with 
becoming diligen<^, that the fire of martyrdom supplied every 
delect and expiated every sin ; that while the sonls of ordinary 
Clnristians were obliged to pass through a slow and painful 

** Ftetius, c 19. ILde^nUetnont (M^moires, torn. iv. parti p. 450, 
note 60) is not pleased with so positive an ezduaioQ oi any lonner 
martyr of the epifioopel rank.* 

^ Whatever opinion we may entertain of the character or principles 
of Thomas Becket, we must acknowledge that he suffered death with 
a constancy not tinworthy of the primitive martyrs. See Lord Lyttle 
ton's History of Henry it vol ii p. 692, ifec. 

** See in particular the treatise of OyfHrian de Laj^sis, p. 87 — 98, 
edit FelL The learning of Dodwell (Diasertat Oypnanic. xii ^iil^ 
and the .ingenuity of Middleton, (Free Inquiry, p. 162, <fec.,) have left 
seaieely any thing to add concerning the merit, the honors, and the 
motives of the martyrs. 

* M. de Tillemont, as an honest writer, explains the diflSculties which 
he felt ahoat the text of Pontius, and condodes by distinctly stating, that 
without doubt there is some mistake, and that Pontius must have meant 
snly Africa Minor or Carthage ; for St. Cyprian, in his 68th (69th) letter 
addressed to Pupianus, speaks expressly of many bishops bis coUeagne% 
^i proscripti sunt, vel ap]^rehensi in carcere et catenis fiiemnt; ant qui 
b «'-3ciHnm relegati, iUustri itinere ad Dominum pro£acti sunt; ant qui 
iioibosdam locia animadversi, ccelestes coronas de Domini darificatioBS 
sampsemnt— -G. 

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JW raK- DECLINE AKB FALL [A. l> ^^4. 

purifioatioD, the trium^ant tsulfereri enters intd the imme- 
diate fruition of eternal bliss, wliere^ in the society- of the 
patriarchs^ the apostles, and the prophets, they reigned with 
Christ, and acted as his assessors in the universal judgment 
of mankind. The assurance of a lasting reputation upon 
earth, a motive so congenial t6 the vatnity of human nature, 
often served to animate the coun^e of the miirtyrs. The 
honors which Rome or Alliens bestowed on those citizens who 
had fellen in the canse of their country, were cold and un- 
meaning demonstrations of respect, when oonl^ared with the 
ardent gratitudis and devotion which the primitive church 
expressed towards the victorious chainptons of the faith. The 
annuM commemoration of thdr virtues and sufl^ngs was 
observed as a sacred ceremony, and at length terminated in 
religious worship. Among tibe Christians who had publicly 
confessed tibeir religiotts principles, those who (as it vefy fre- 
quently happened) had been dismissed from the tribunal or 
the prisons of the Pagan magistrates, obtained such honors as 
were justly due to their imperfect martyrdom and their gene^ 
ous resolution. The most pious females courted <^e permia* 
sioB of imprinting kisses on the fetters which l^y had worn, 
and on the wounds which they had received. Their persons 
were esteemed holy, their decisidiis were' admitted with defer- 
ence, and they ioo often abused, by their spiritual pride and 
licentious manners, the preeminence which their zeal and in- 
trepidity had acquired." Diatinetionff like these, whiist they 
display the -exalted merit, betray the inconsidefable number of 
those who suffered, and of thase who died, for the profession 
of Christianity. 

The sober discretion of the present age will more readily 

" Cyprian. EpistoL 6, 6, 1, 22, 24 ; * and de Uoitat Eoclesiaj. Tho 
number of pretended martyrs has been very mucU multiplied, by the 
custom which was introduced of bestowing that honorable name on 

* M. Guizot denies that the letters of Cyprian, to which he refers, bear oul 
the statement in the text I cannot scrapie to admit the accuracy of Gib- 
bon's quotation. To take only the iSfth letter, we find this passage : DoLso 
enim quando audio quosdam iniprobe et insolenter discurrere, et ad ineptias 
rel ad discordias vacare, Ghristi membra et jam Cfaristum confessa per con 
oabitas iUicitos inquinari, nee a diaconis aut presbyteris regi posse, sed id 
aj^ure ut per paucorum pravos et malos mores, multorum et bonoram confes- 
foroa gloria nonesta maculetur. Gibbon's misrepresentation lies in the am> 
Ugucmfl eacpression "too often.'* Were the epistles arranged in a dMferwif 
■winor in the edition consalted by M. Gaizot ?— M. 

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A«D.d24.] Ot THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 41 

oensure tLan admke, but can more easily admire iban imi- 
tate, the fervor of the first Christians, who, according to the 
lively expressions of Sulpieius Severus, desired martyrdom with 
more eagerness than his own contemporaries solicited a bish' 
opric.** The epistles which Ignatius composed as he was 
carried in chains through the cities of Asia, breathe sentiments 
the most repugnant to the ordinary feelings of human nature. 
He earnestly beseeches the Romans, that when he should be 
exposed in the amphitheatre, they would- not, by their kind 
but unseasonable intercession, deprive him of the crown of 
glory ; and he declares his resolution to provoke and irritate 
the wild beasts which might be employed as the instrument* 
of his death.** Some stories are related of the courage of 
martyrs, who actually performed what Ignatius had intended ; 
who exasperated the firy of the lions, pressed the executioner 
to hasten his oflBce, cheerfully leaped into the fires which were 
kindled to eonsume them, and discovered a sensation of joy 
and pleasure in the tnidst of the most exquisite tortures. Sev- 
eral examples have been preserved of a zeal impatient of 
.those restraints which the emperors had provided for the 
security of the church, llie Christians sometimes supplied 
by tht'ir voluntary declaration the want of an accuser, rudely 
disturbed the public service of paganism,** and rushing in 
«x>wds round the tribunal of the magistrates, called upon them 
Ut pronounce and to inflict the sentence of the law. The 
behavior of the Christians was too remarkable to escape the 
notice of the ancient philosophers; but they seem to have 
considered it with much less admiration than astonishment. 
Incapable of conceiving the motives which sometimes trans- 
ported the fortitude of believers beyond the bounds of pru- 
dence or reason, they treated such an eagerness to die as the 

" Oertatim glorioea in eertamina ruebator ; multique avidios turn 
martyria gloriosis mortibus qusBrebantar, qnam dudc Episoopatus 
pravis ambitionibus appetuotur. Sulpieius Severus, LiL He might 
have omitted the word nun/i, 

*' See Epist ad Boman. c 4, 6, api Patres Apostd. torn, ii p. 27. It 
salted the purpose of Bishop Pearson (see VindicisB Ignatianse, part il 
c. 9) to justify, by a profusion of examples and authorities, the senti^- 
meets of Ignatius. 

•* The story of Polyeuctes, on which Corneille has founded a very 
beautiful tragedy, is one of the most celebrated, though not perluips 
the most authentic, instances of this excessive zeaL We should observe, 
that the 60th canon of the council of lUiberis refiises the title <^ matu 

Sra to those who exposed tliemsolves to death, by publicly destroyh^ 

Digitized by 


4g TBJS DECUNfi AND FALL [A« D. 324 

•tran^pe result of obstinate despair, of stupid insensibiliiy, of 
of superstitious frenzy.** "Unhappy m^nr e;bclaiined tbt 
proconsul Antoninus to the Christians of Asia; "unhappy 
men ! if you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for 
you to find ropes and precipices T ** He was extremely cau* 
tious (as it is observed by a learned and pious historian) of 
punishing men who had found no accusers but themselvesi th^ 
Imperial laws not having made any provision for so unexpected 
a case: condemning there£:>re a few as a warning to their 
brethren, he dismissed the multitude with indignation and oon* 
tempt** Notwithstanding this real or affected disdain, tibe in< 
trepid constancy of the faithful was productive of more salutary 
effects on those minds which nature or grace had disposed for 
the easy reception of religious tnith. On these melancholy 
occasions, there were many among the Crentiles who pitiedt 
who admired, and who were converted. The generous enthu* 
siasm was communicated from the sufferer to the spectators ; 
and the blood of martyrs, according to a well-kqown observi^ 
Uon, became the seed of the church. 

But although devotion had raised, and eloquence continued 
to inflame, tins fever of the mind, it insensibly gave way to 
the more natural hopes and fears of the human hearty to the 
love of life, the apprehension of pain, and the honor of dissQr 
Intion. The more prudent rulers of the church found themT 
selves obliged to restrain the indiscreet ardor of their followers^ 
and to distrust a constancy which too often abandoned them in 
the hour of trial" As the lives of the futhful became less 

•• See Epictetus, L iv. c 7, (though there is some doubt whether he 
alludes to the Christiaiis.) Marcus Antoninus de Rebus sms, L zi. c. 8 
liudan in Peregrin. 

" Tertallian ad ScspuL c. 5. The learned are divided between 
diree persons of the same name, who were all proconsuls of Asia. I 
am inclined to ascribe this story to Antoninus rius, who was afteiw 
wards emperor ; and who may luive governed Asia under the reign of 

•f Mosheim, de Rebus Christ ante Constantin. p. 285. 

*" See the Spiatle of the Church of Smyrna, ap. Euseb. Hist. Ecdea 

* The 15th chapter of the 10th book of the Eccles. History of Easebiiu 
treats principaUy of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp, and mentions some other 
martyrs. A single example of weakness is related ; it. is that of a Phrygian 
■amed Ctnintas, who, appalled at the sight of the wild beasts and the tor- 
taresy lenoonoed his iaiui. This example proves little against the mass of 
Ohristians, and this chapter of Easebius furnished much stronger evidenoa 
•f tlieir ooorage than of their timidity. — Q. 

This (Xamtns had, however, rashly and of bis own accord ap 

Digitized by 


A.D.824.] or the romak empirx. 49 

mortified and austere, they were every day less ambitiotts ot 
the honors of martyrdom ; and the soldiers of Christ, instead 
of distinguishii^ themselves by voluntary deeds of heroism, 
frequently deserted their post, and fled in confusion hehre the 
enemy whom it was their duty to resist There were three 
no^ods, however, of escapbg the flames of persecution, 
which were not attended with an equal decree of guilt : the 
drst, indeed, wa» generally allowed to be innocent; the sec- 
ond was of a doubtful, or at least of a venial, nature ; but the 
third implied a dieect and criminal apostasy firom ih» Christian 

L A modem inquisitor would he^ with surjHise, that 
whenever an information was given to a Roman ma^strate 
of any person widiin his jurisdiction who had embraced the 
sect of the Christians, the charge Was communicated to the 
party accused, and that a oonv&ient time was allowed him to 
settle his domestic concerns, and to prepare an answer to the 
crime which was imputed to him.*' If he entertained any 
doubt of his own constancy, such a delay afi^rded him the 
opportunity of preserving his life and honor by flight, of with- 
drawing himself into some obscure retirement or some distant 

'* In the secood apology of Jostin, there is a particular and very 
cnrioiia instance of this le^ delay. The same indulgence was grants 
ed to aocnsed Christians, in the persecution of Decius : and Cyprian 
(de Lapsis) expressly mentions the ** Dies negautibus prsdstitutus.^ * 

before the tribunal; and the church of Smvnui condemn "ku indiscreet 
4trdor" coupled aa it was with weakness in the hour of trial. — ^M. 

* The examples drawn bv the historian from Justin Martyr and Cyprian 
relate altewetfaer to paiticnlar oases, and ^rove nothing as to the general 
practice adopted towards the accused ; it is evident, on the contraiy, fiom 
the some apology of 8t Justin* that they hardly ever obtained delay. " A 
man named Lucias» himself a Christian, present at an uojust sentence 
passed against a Christian by the judge Urbicus, asked him why he thus 
punielied a man who was neither adulterer nor robber, nor guilty of any 
other crime but that of avowing himself a Christian." Urbicus answered 
only in these words: "Thou also hast the appearance of being a Chris- 
tan." "Yes» without doubt," replied Lucius. The judge ordered that 
he should be put to death on the instant A third, who came up, was con- 
demned to be beaten with rods. Here, then, are three examples where 
no delay was granted. [Surely these acts of a single passionate and irri- 
tated judge prove the general practice as little as those quoted by Qtb- 
bon. — ^M-l Toere exist a multitude of others, such as those of Ptdeniy, 
MaroelluB, &c. Justin expressly charges the judges with ordering the 
accused to be executed witmmt hearing the cause. The words of St Cyprian 
are as particular, and simply say, that he had appointed a day by which the 
Obpistiaas most have rewmnoed their faith; those who had not 4oiie it 
lijr that time wera condemned.-— G. This confirms the sratcmeBt in tkt 
text— M. 

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44 THE DECUNK AND FA J. [A^ D. 8*J% 

province, and of patiently expecting the return of peace and 
security. A measure so consonant to reason was soon author- 
ized hy the advice and example of the tnost holy prelates ; 
and seems to have been censured by few except by the Mon- 
tanists, who deviated into heresy by their strict and obstinate 
adherence to the rigor of ancient disdpline."* 11. The pro- 
vincial governors, whose zeal was less prevalent than their 
avarice, had countenanced the practice of selling certificates, 
(or libels, as they were called.) which attested, that the persons 
therein mentioned had complied with the laws, and sacrificed 
to the Roman deities. By producing these false declarations, 
the opulent and timid Christians were enabled to silence the 
malice of an in£)rmer, and to reconcile in some measure 
their safety with their religion. A slight penance atoned &r 
this profane dissimulation."** DI. In every persecution 
there were great numbers of unworthy Christians who pub- 
licly disowned or renouuced the fiuth which they had pro- 
fessed ; and who confirmed the sincerity of their abjuration, 
by the legal acts of burning incense or of ofiEering sacrifices. 
Some of these apostates had yielded on the first menace or 
exhortation of the magistrate ; whilst the patience of others 
had been subdued by the length and repetition of tortures. 
The affrighted countenances of some betrayed their inward 
remorse, while others advanced with confidence and alacrity 
to the altars of the gods."' But the disguise which fear had 
imposed, subsisted no longer than the present danger. As 
soon as the severity of the persecution was abated, the doors 
of the churches were assailed by the returning multitude of 

100 'Pertullian considers flight from persecntion as an imperfect^ but 
rery criminal, apostasy, as an impious attempt to elude the will of God, 
<fea, <tc. He has written a treatise on tlus snbject, (see p. 686 — 644, 
edit. Bigalt.,] which is filled with the wildest fanaticism knd the most 
incoherent aeclamatiou. It is, however, somewhat remarkable, that 
TcrtuUian did not suffer martyrdom himself. 

*"' The libellaHci, who are chiefly known by the writings of Cyprian, 
arc described with the utmost precision, in tlie copious commentary of 
Mosheim, p. 483—489. 

"' Plia Epist X. 97. Dionysius Alexaudrin. ap. Euseb. I vi. c. 41. 
Ad prima statim verba minantis inlmici maximus fratrum numcnis 
fidem suam prodidit: ncc prostratus est persecutionis impetu, seC 
voluntario lapsu seipsum prostravit Cyprian. Opera, p. 89. Amor ; 
these deserters were many priests, and even bishops. 

* Toe penimoe was not so sli^t, for it waaexjMstiy the same with that of 
Ltes who had sacrifioed to idols ; it lasted several years. See Fleew 
Ecc V. ii. p. 171.— a 

Digitized by 



pemtents who detested their idolatrous. submission, and who 
solicited with equal ^rdor, but with various success, tl^eir read- 
missiou into the society of Christians."* * V^ 

IV. Notwithstanding the. general rules established for the ^^ 
conviction and punishment of the Christians, the fate of those 
sectaries, in an extensive and arbitraiy government, must still, 
in a g^eat measure, have depended on Sieir own behavior, the 
circumstances of the times, and the temper of their supreme 
as well as subordinate rulers. Zeal might sometimes provoke, 
and prudence might sometimes avert or assuage, the super- 
stitious fury of the Pagans. A variety of motives might dis- 
pose the provincial governors either to enforce or to relax the 
execution of the laws ; and of these motives the most forcible 
was their regard not only for the public edicts, but for the 
secret intentions of the emperor, a glance from whose eye 
was sufficient to kindle or to extii^guish the flames of perse- 
cution. As often as any occasional severities were exercised 
in the different parts of the empire, the primitive Christians 
lamented and perhaps magnified their own sufferings; but 
the celebrated number of ten persecutions has been deter- 
mined by the ecclesiastical writers of the fifth century, who 
possessed a more distinct view of the prosperous or adverse 
fortunes of the church, from the age of Nero to that of Dio- 
cletian. The i^^nious parallels of the ten plagues of Egypt, 
and of the ten horns of the Apocalypse, first suggested this 
calculation to their minds ; and in their application of the 
Mth of prophecy to the truth of history, they were careful to 
select those reigns which were indeed the most hostile to the 

• ^^ It was on this occasion that Cyprian wrote his treatise De Lapsis, 
lud many of his epistles. The controversy concerning the treatment 
of penitent apostates, does not occur among the Christians of tho pie- 
ceding oen.tury. Shall we ascribe this to the superiority of their faith 
and courage, or to our less.intimate^knowledge of their history f 

* Pliny* says, that the greater part of the Christians persisted in avow- 
mg themselves to be so; the reason for his consulting. Trajan was the 
periclitantinm nnmenis. Etisebitzs (1. vi. e. 41) does not permit us to 
doubt that the Anmber of those Who renonneed their faith was infizdteiy 
below the number of those who boldly oontessed it The prefect, be flays. 
fini his asaesflors present at the councilt wer^ alanned at seeing the crowd 
of Christians; the judgea themselves trembled.- Xastly, 6t. iQjFprian in- 
forms us, that the greater pan of those who had appeared weak brethren 
iii the persecution of Decius, signalized their courage in that of Oallua 
Steterunt fortes, et ipso dolore ptpnttentias fact! ad prwHum ibrtiorefl 
JPpistlx. p 142.. -O. 

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it mk DECLINE AND FAU [A. t). 9S# 

Christian cause.^*' But these transient persecutions sery^ 
only to revive the zeal and to restore the discipline of Ihe 
faithful ; and the moments of extraordinary rigor were oom^ 
pensated by much longer intervals of peace and security. 
The indifference of some princes, and the indulgence of others, 
permitted the Christians to enjoy, though not perhaps ajiegal, 
yet an actual and public, toleration of their religion. 

The apology of Tertullian contains two very ancient, Tery 
singular, but at the same time very suspicious, instances or 
Imperial clemency ; the edicts published by Tiberius, and by 
Marcus Antoninus, and designed not only to protect tJhe inno- 
cenoe of the Christians, but even to proclaim those stupen- 
dous miracles which had attested the truth of their doctrine. 
The first of these examples is attended with some difficulties 
which might perplex a sceptical mind."* We are required 
to believe, that Pontius Pilate informed the emperor of the 
unjust sentence of death which he had pronounced agamst an 
innocent, and, as it appeared, a divine, person ; and that^ 
without acquiring the merit, he exposed himself to the dan- 
ger of martyrdom ; that Hberius, who avowed his contempt 
for all religion, immediately conceived the design of placing 
the Jewish Messiah among die gods of Rome ; mat his servile 
senate ventured . to disobey the commands of their master ; 
that Tiberius, instead of resenting their refusal, contented 
himself with protecting the Christians from the severity of the 
laws, many years before such laws were enacted, or before 
the church had assumed any distinct name or existence ; and 
lastly, that the memory of this extraordinary transaction was 
preserved in the most public and authentic records, which 
escaped the knowledge of the historians of Greece and Rome, 
and were only visible to the eyes of an African Christian, who 
composed his apology one hundrrjd and sixty years after the 
death of Tiberius. The edict of Marcus Antoninus is sup* 
posed to have been the effect of his devotion and gratitude, 
for the miraculous deliverance which he had obtained in the 

^** See Mosheim, p. 97. Sulpiciua Severus was the first author of 
this oompntation ; though he seemed desirous of reserving the tenth 
andgreatest perseeutioQ for the oomiug of the Antidirist 

'••The testimony given by Pontius Pilate is first mentioned by 
Justin. The successive improvements which the story acquired (as it 
has passed through the hands of Tertullian, Eusebius, JSpiphaniua 
Ofarysostom, Oroaius, Gregory of Tours, and tlie authors of the several 
editions of the acts of Pilate) are very fairly stated by Dom Oalmet 
I^asertat. sur V Ek;riture, torn. iii. p. 661, <&c. 

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AiD.d2ir] of THE ROMAn KMPIRK. Vl 

MuoomanDic war. The distresB of tbe le^oi^s, tlio fieasona- 
ble tempest of rain and hail, of thunder and of lightning, and 
the dismay and defeat of the barbarians, have been celebrated 
by the domienod of several Pagan writers. - If there were any 
Christians m that army, it was natural that they shonld ascribe 
some merit ta the fervent prayers, which, in the moment of 
danger, they had offered np for their own and the public 
safety. But we are still assured by monuments of brass and 
marUe, by 4he Imperial medals, and by the Antonine column, 
that neither the prince nor the people entertained any sense 
of tfak signal obligation, sitiee they unanimously attribute their 
deMvecance to the proWdence of Jupiter, and to the interposi- 
tion of Mercury. During the whole course of his reign, 
llarous despised the' Christians a» a philosopher, and punished 
them as a sovereign.*** ♦ 

By a singular Vitality, the hardships which they had en- 
dured imder the govemment of a virtuous prince, immediate- 
ly ceased on the aceessien of a tyrant ; and as none except 
themselves had experienced the injustice of Marcus, so they 

. ^®' On this mtrade* as it is commonly called, of the tfctinderiii^ 
legion, see the admirable criticiam of Mr. Moyie, in hb Works, toL ii. 
p. 81—390. 

* Gibboiii with th» phnuie, toad that below, wlucfa fetdouta the u^nttiee 
of Marcus, has dexterously ^ossed over tioe of the; most remarkable facta 
in the early Christian history, that the reign of the wisest and most hn- 
mane of the heathen emperors was the most fatal to the Christians. Host 
writers have aaqrihed the persecutions under Marcus to the hUent bigotry 
of his character ; Mosheim, to the influence of the pbUosophic party ; hut 
the fact is admitted by all. A kte writer (Mr. Waddington, Bust of the 
Church, p. 47) baa not aerupled to aasert, that *'thia prince polluted erery 
year of a long reign with innocent blood ;" but the causes as well as the 
date of the persecutions authorized or permitted by Marsus are equally un- 

Of the Astatic edict recorded by Melito. the date is unknown, nor is it 
quite clear that it was an Imperial edict If it was the act under which 
Polycarp suffered, bis martyrdom is placed by Uninart in the sixth, by 
Moaheim in the ninth, year of the reign of Maicos. The martyrs of Yienne 
and Lyons are assigned by DodwelTto the seventh, by most writers to the 
seventeenth. In fac^ the commencement of the persecutions of the Chris* 
tians appears to synchronize exactly with the period of the breaking out 
of the Maroomannic war, which seems to have alarmed the whole empire, 
and iite emperor himaekf, into a paroxysm of retuming piety to their goda^ 
of which the Christians were the victhnsL See Jul, Capit Script. Wm 
August. 1^. 181, edit 1601. It is remarkable that TertuUian [Apoio^ 
c. V.) distmctly asserts that Yerus (M. AareHus) issued no edicts ammal 
the Christians, and almost positively exempts hmi firom the charge of per- 
iocution. — M. 

This remarkable synchronism, which explains the persecutions under M* 
Awelias, is shown at length in Mihnan's History of Christianity, bciok ii a 
y-M. 1845. 

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aione were protected by Ae lenity of Oommodus. * The oeM> 
brated Marcia, tbe most &vored of his conoubines, and who 
at length conkived the murder of her Imperial : lover, entar 
tained a singular affection for the oppressed church ; and 
though it was impossible that she could reconcile the prac- 
tice of vice with the precepts of the gospel, srhe might hope 
to atone for the frailties of her sex and profession by declar- 
ing herself the patroness of the Christians.*" Under the 
gracious protection of Marcia, they passed in^ safety the 
thirteen years of a cruel tyranny ; and when the empire was 
established in the house pf Severos, they formed a domestie 
but more honorable connection with the new court The 
emperor was persuaded, that in a dangfflx>us sidkness, he had 
derived some benefit, either spiritual or physical, from the 
holy oil, with which one of his slaves had anointed him. Hft 
always treated with pecuHar distinction several persons ol 
both sexes who had embraced the new religion. The nmrse 
as well as the preceptor of Garacalla were Christians ; * and 
if that young prince ever betrayed a sentiment of hiunanity, 
it was occasioned by an incident, which, however trifling, 
bore some relation to the cause of Christiahity.*** Under 
the reign of Severus, the fury of the populace was checked ; 
the rigor of ancient laws was for some time suspended ; and 
the provincial governors were satisfied with receiving an 
annual present from the churches within their jurisdiction, as 
thO' price, or as the reward, of their moderation."* The con* 
troversy concerning the precise time of the celebration of 
Easter, armed the bishops of Asia and Italy against each 
other, and was considered as the most important business of 

"^ Dion Cassius, or rather his abbreviator Xiphilin, 1. IxxiL p. 1206. 
Mr. Moyle (p. 266) has exjdained the condition of the church under 
the reign of Commodus. 

"8 Compare the life of Garacalla in the Augustan History, "with 
the epistle of Tertullian to Scapula. Dr. Jortin (Remarks on Eccle- 
siastical History, vol. ii. p. 5, Ac.) considers the cure of Severus by 
the means of holy oil, with a strong desire to cdhvert it into a mir- 

"' Tertullian de Fuga, c. 13. The present was made during the 
feast of the tSatomalia ; and it is a matter of serious cobcom to 
TertoUian, that the faithful should be confounded with the most 
oifiimous professiotis which purchased the connivance of the. gov- 

The Jews and Cbristiaxis ooatest the honor of having fiirniahed a triras 
to the Matricide son of Severus Garacalla. Hist, of Jaws, id. ISS4^H 

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k. D. 324.J OF THE ROMAN EMPIBS. 4t 

ttiia period of kkme and tranquiHity/^' Nor was the peaOQ 
ottht cbnrch interrupted, till the inereaflsng numbers of prose- 
ijtes seem at . length to have attracted the attentbn, and to 
iiave alienated the mind of Sevems. With tise design of 
rastraiiiing the progress of Christianity, he published an edict, 
which, thoiigh it was designed to affect only the new converts, 
could not be carried iiitb strict execution, without exposing to 
danger and pumshment the most sealous of their teadiers and 
naisnanariea. In this mitigated persecudon we may stall dv^ 
corer the indulgent i spirit of Boxne and of Polytheism, iwhieh 
so veftdily^ admitted every excuse in fovor.of thc»e who prao* 
tiskt' the religious ceremonies of their Others "^ 

But the taws which Sevems had enacted soon ^cpirlsd with 
the authoritjr of i^iat emperor ; and the Ohristians, after this 
accidental tempest, enjoyed a calm of thirty-eight yeacs/" 
Till this period they had usually held their assemblies in 
private houses and sequestered places. They were now per-* 
mitted to erect and consecrate convenient e^Rfices for the pur- 
pose of ..rehjgious worship;^" to purchase lands, even at 
Bome itself for the use of the community;' and to conduct 
the elections of their ecclesiastical ministers in so pab]i<^, but 
at the same time in tK> exemplary a manner, as to deser\'e the 
respectful attention of the Gentiles."* This long repose of 
the church was aecomjkinied iwith d^^nity. The reigns of 
those pnnces who derived tiheir extraction from the Asiatic 
provinces, proved the most fevorable to the Ohristians; the 
eminent persons of the sect, instead of being reduced to im- 
plore the protection of a slave or concubine, were admitted 
into the palace in the honorable characters of priests and 

"• Eufleb. L V. c 28, 24. Aloaheim, p 485—447. 

'" Judieos fieri sab ^ftvi pcsna vetuit. Idem etiam de Ohristiams 
MUixit. Hist August p.' 70. 

^^ SikLpicitisSeTerus, I il p 884. This oompitation (allowing for 
a BiDgle exception) is confirmed by ihe history of Eusebios, and by the 
writings of Cypriim. • 

"* The ahtiauity of Christian chnrches is discussed by TiUomont, 
(Metnoires Ec(Sesiastique8, .UmL ill part ii p 68 — 72,) and by Mr, 
Moylo, (voL i. p. 878 — 898,) The former refers the first constructioD 
of them to the peace of Alexandfr Severus ; the latter, to the peace of 
Gallicnus. , . 

**^ See the Augustan flistory, p. 130. The emperor Alexander 
Adopted theb- method of publicly proposmg the names of those persons 
who were candidates for ordination. It is true that thf honoirTif this 
l«M!tioe 10 likewi<w attributed to the Jews. 

VOL. IT. — C 

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philosophen ; and their mysterious doctnnes, wbich were 
already difiused among the people, insensibly attiacted the 
euriosity of their sovereign. When the empress Mammsea 
])a8sed through Antaoch, ^e expressed a desire of conTersing 
with the celebrated Origen, the fame of whose piety and 
learning was spread over the East. Origen obeyed so flattei^ 
ing an invitation, and though he could not expect, to succeed 
in the conversion of an artful and ambitious woman, she lis- 
tened with pleasure to his eloquent exhortations, and honor- 
ably dismissed him to his retirement in Palestine."* The 
sentiments of Mammaea were adopted by her son Alexander, 
and the philosophic devotion of that emperor was marked by 
ci singular but injudicious regard for the Christian religion. 
In his domestic chapel he pla^d the statues of Abraham, of 
Oipheus, of ApoUonius, and of Christy as an honor justlv due 
to those respectable sages who had instructed mankind m the 
va^ous modes of addressing their homage to the supreme and 
universal Deity/*' A purer faith, as well as worship, was 
openly professed and practised among his household. Bish- 
ops, peiiiaps for the first time, were seen at court ; and, after 
the death of Alexander, when the inhuman Maximin dis- 
charged his fury on the favorites and servants of his unfortu- 
nate bene&ctor, a great number of Christians of every rank, 
and of both sexes, were involved the promiscuous massa- 
c^-e, which, on their account, has improperly received the name 
of Persecution.*"* 

"• Euseb. Hist. Ecdeeiast. L vi c 21. Hieronym. de Script* 
Godea c. 64. Mammifta was styled a boly and pious woman, both oy 
the Christians and the Pagans. From the former, therefore, it was 
impossible that she should deserve that honorable epithet 

"' See the Augustan History, p. 128. Modieim (p. 465) seems to 
refine too much on the domestic religion . of AlezaDder. His design 
of building a public temple to Christ, (Qiat August p. 129,) and the 
objection which was suggested either to him, or in similar circumstances 
to Hadrian, appear to have no other foundation than an improbable 
report, invented by the Christians, and creduloualy adopted by an 
Historian of the age of Constantino 

*" Eusebi I vL c 28. It may be presumed that the success of the 
Qliristians had exasperated the increasing bigotry of the Pagans. 

* It is with md reason that this massacre has been eaOed a perseeu* 
tioHf ibr it htsted daring the whole reign of Maximin, as may be seen ia 
Ensebios. (L vi. c. 28.) Rnfinns expressly confirms it; Tribds amiis a Max> 
iiiiino persecatioDe oommotA, in qnibiiR finem et persocntionig fecit ei vh\m 
Vift 1 vi. o 10.— G. 

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A. D. 824.] 07 THK ROMAV SMfltLE 51 

jyotwitkMainding the cruel disposition of Msiximin^ tiie eflSsdi 
of bis reBfflitmeait against the Cluristiaitt were of a very local 
aad tempontfy nature, and the pious Origen, who had been 
pioscribed as a devoted victim, was still reserved to convey 
the truths of the gospel to the ear of monarehs."* He ad- 
dressed several edifying letters to the emperor Philip, to his 
wife, and to his mother^ and as soon as that priaoe, who was 
torn in the neighborhood of Falestine, had usurped the Impe- 
rial sceptre, the Christians acquired a friend and a protector. 
The public and even partial favor of Philip towards the seo* 
taries of the new religion, and his constant reverence for the 
ministers of the church, gave some color to the suspicion, 
which prevailed in his own times, that the emperor hiinself 
was become a convert to the £Eiith;"' and affiorded some 
pounds for a. fable which was afterwards invented, that Jie 
had been purified by confessbn and penanoe from the guilt 

Dion Cassitifl, who composed his histoiy under the fonner reign, had 
most probably mteoded fer the use of hb matter those counsels of 
persecution, which he ascribes to a better age, and to the fiiYorite of 
Aogustus. Concerning this oration of Maecenas, or rather of Dion,* 
I may refer to my own unbiased opinion, (vol l a 1, note 25,) and to 
the Abb6 de la Bleterie (Mlmoh-es de rAcad6mie, torn. xxir. p. 303, 
tomzzv.p. 482.) 

"' Orosios, L vii. c. 19, mentions Origen as the object of Mazimin'a 
resentment ; and Firmilianua, a Cappadocian bishop oi that age, gives 
ajnst and confined idea of this persecution, (apud Cyprian. Epist. '76.) 

"• The mention of tliose princes who were publicly supposed to 
be Christians, as we find it in an epistle of Dionysius of Aiezan^ria, 
(apu Eoseb. L yil a 10,) evidently alludes to Philip and his familv, 
and forms a contemporary evidence, that such a report had prevailed ; 
but ihe Egyptian bishop, who lived at an humble distance from the 
court of Rome, expresses himself with a becoming diffidence concern- 
ing the truth of the fact. The epistles of Origen (which were extant 
in the- time of Eusebins, see L vl c 36) would most probably decide 
this curious rather than important question. 

* If this be the case, Dion Cassios mast have imown the Chriatians; 
they must have been the Bubject of his f articular attention, since' the 
■ntW sapposes that he^wished his master to profit by these " counsels of 
persecation." How are we to reconcile this necessary consequence with 
what Gibbon has said of the ignorance of Dion Cassius even of the name 
of the Christians? (c. xvi. n. 24.) JGibbon speaks of Dion's silence, 
not of his ignorance. — M ] The supposition in this note is snpnorted by ns 
proof; it is probable that Dion Cassias has often desi^atea the Chris- 
lions by the name of Jews. See Dion Cassius. 1. Ixvii. o 14, bcviii. I 

On thib point I ehonid adopt the view of GibNoii rather thau that of M 

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y Google 

5S~ TKB. CrSei'HiJS AKO FAIX [A. IK 834 

edQtracUd by the .murder <^ bis.iimooeni predeoeaaoc/** The 
^1 of Philip iatrcldiiced, with the change of mastem^ a new 
system of goyeroment, so oppreisive to the ChriBtncs^ tb«t 
their fbrsier eondition^ ever fiijioe the time of Dooiitia% was 
represeDted as a state oF perfect freedom and aacufity, if com- 
pared with the rigofTDUs treatment which they expeneaoed 
under the short re^n ol Decius.^'^ > The virtaes of that 
prinoe.wiU scarcely aOow us to suspect that he waa actuated 
by a mean nesentment against the favorites of his predeeeESor; 
and it iis more reasomible to beUeve^ that in the prosecntioo 
of his general design to restore the purity of Roman mannew, 
he was desirous of deUveving the empire from what he con« 
demned as a recent and criaunal supeistiyon* The bishops of 
the most eonsid^^faie cities were removed by exile or death: 
tae vigilance of i the magistrates prevented the dei^ of 
Rome during sixteen months from proceeding to a new elec* 
tion ; and it was the opinion of the Christians,4hat the em* 
peror would more padeuUy endure a oompetitor for the purple, 
than a iNshop in tiie capital;^" Were it possible to suppose 
^at the penetration of Decius Lad discovered pride mider the 
disguise of humilitjr, or that he could foresee the temporal do- 
miniou which might insensibly arise from the claims of spiritual 
authority, we might be less surprised, that he should €jE>Q8ader 
the successors of St Peter, as the most formidable rivals to 
those of Augustus. 

The administration of Valerian was distinguished by . a 
levity and inconstancy ill suited to the gravity of the B&man 
Censor, In the first part of his reign, he suipassed in. clem* 
ency those princes who had been suspected pf aii attachment 
to the Christian faith. In the last three years and a half, lis- 
tening to the insinuations of a minister addicted to the super- 
stitions of J^ypt, he adopted the maxims, and imitated the 

"" Euseb. L vL c 34. The story, as is iisual, has been embellished 
by succeeding writers, and is confuted^ with much superfluous learu- 
iog, by Frederick Spanhdm, (Opera Varia^ torn, il p. 400, Aa) 

^^^ Laotantius, de Mortibus Persecutorum, c. 8, 4. After c^lebratiiig 
the felicity and increase of the church, under a long succession of good 
princes, he adds, ** Extitit post annos plurimos, execrabile animal, P;coiu8, 
qui Yexaret Ecdesiiun.'' 

^'^ Euseb. I vi c. 39, Ojjxwi. Epistol 6(S. The see of Rome re 
urmined vacant from the martyrdom of Fabianus, the 20th of January, 
A. D. 260, till the election of Cornelius, the 4th of June, A. D. 851 
Decius bad probably left Rome, since he was killed before the end ol 
fcbat year. 

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•eyerity, of bis predeceseor Deoiiis.**' The accession of Gid^ 
lienns, which increased the calamities of the empire, restored 
peace to the church ; and the Christians obtained the free ex- 
eKwe of their religion by an edict addressed to the Inshops, and 
eoDoeived in such terms as seemed to acknowledge their office 
«nd public charaoter.^*^ The ancient laws^ without being f(M> 
mallj repealed, were suffered to sink into oblivion ; and (ex- 
cepting only some hostile intentions which are attributed to the 
emperor Aurelian^*^^ the disciples of Christ passed above forty 
years m a state of prosperity, for more dangerous to their 
virtue than the severest trials of peiseention. 

The story of Paul of Samosata, who filled the metropolitan 
see of Antioeh, while the East was in the hands of Odena- 
thus and Zenobia, may serve to illustrate the coaditioD and 
character of tiie times. The wealth of that prelate was a 
sufficient evidence of his guilt, since it was neither derived 
from the inheritance of his fathers, nor acquired by the arts 
of honest industry. But Paul considered the service of the 
church as a very lucrative profession."' His ecclesiastical 

>s* Euseh. L vii 0. 10. Moeheim (p. 548) has very clearly shown 
that the priefect Macrianus, and the Egyptian ifayiM, are one and the 
same person. 

"^ Eusebius H. viL c 18) gives us a Greek version of this Latin edict, 
which seems to have been very concise. By another edict, he directed 
that the CcBmeterid should be restored to the CInistian& 

i3> Eoseb. I vii 0. 80. Laetantius de M. P. o. 6. Hieroaym. in 
Chron. p. 177. Qrosios, L rii c 28. Their laog^uage is in general so 
aznbiguous and incorrect, that ye are at a loss to determine how far 
Aureuan had carried his intentions before he was assassinated. Most 
of the modems (except DodweU, Dissertat. Oyprian. vl 64) have seized 
the occasion of gaining a few extraordinary mwtyrs.* 

>^< Paul was better pleased with the title of IhieenaritUf than with 
(hat of bishoix The JhicentnriuM was an Imperial procurator, so caUed 
from his eamrj of two hundred Sestertiii, or 1600/. a year. (See 
Salmatius ad Hist August p. 124) Some critics suppose that the 
bishop of Antioch had actually obtained such an office Iroin Zenobia, 

* Dr. Lardner has detailed, with his aaoal impartiality, idl that has 
oome down to us relating to the persecution of Aarelian, and oondudes 
by sabring, " Upon more carefully examining the words of Eusebias, and 
observing the accounts of other authors, learned men have geiMsrally, and, 
as I think, very jadicionsly, determined, that Aurelian not ouly intended, 
bat did actaaHy persecute : but his persecution was short, he miving died 
soon after the publication of his edicts." Heathen Test. c. xxxvi — Bas- 
nago positively pronounces the same opinion : Kon intentatum modo, sed 
executum qufique brevissimo tempore mandatum, nobis infixum est in ani 
■iSb Basn. Ann. 275, No 2 and compare Pagi Ann. 272, Not. 4, 12,i971 

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$4 niE DEOLINfi AND FALL [A. D. 324 

jnriRdiction was venal and rapacious; he extorted frequem 
contributions from the most opulent of the faithful, and con- 
verted to his own use a considerable part of the public rev- 
enue. By his pride and luxury ,^he Christian religion was 
rendered odious in the eyes of the Gentiles. Ilis council 
chamber and his throne, the splendor with which be appeared 
in public, the suppliant crowd who solicited his attention, the 
multitude of letters and petitions to which he dictated his 
answers, and the perpetual hurry of business in which he wte 
involved, were circumstances much better suited to the state 
of a civil magistrate,"' than to the humility of a primitive 
bishop. When he harangued his people from the pulpit, Paul 
tiffected the figurative style and the theatrical gestures of an Asi- 
atic sophist, while the cathedral resounded with the loudest and 
most extravagant acclamations in the praise of his divine elo- 
quence. Against those who resisted his power, or refused to 
flatter his vanity, the prelate of Antioch was arrogant, rigid, 
and inexorable ; but he relaxed the discipline, and lavished the 
treasures of the church on his dependent clergy, who were 
permitted to imitate their master in the gratification of every 
sensual appetite. For Paul indulged himself very freely in the 
pleasures of the table, and he had received into the episcopal 
palace two young and beautiful women as the constant com* 
panions of his leisure moments."' 

Notwithstanding these scandalous vices, if Paul of Samo< 
data had preserved the purity of the orthodox fkith, his reign 
over the capital of Syria would have ended only with his life ; 
and had a seasonable persecution intervened, an efibrt of 
courage might perhaps have placed him in the rank of saints 
and martyrs.* Some nice and subtle errors, which he impru- 

while others coDfiid«r it only as a figurative ezpreseioa of h)4 pomp 
uad intolebce. 

*'' Simony was not unknown in those times ; and the clergy some- 
times bought what they intended to sell It appears that the bishopric 
of Carthage was purchased by a wealthy matron, named LuciUa, for 
her servant 3Iajorinus. Tliepnce was 400 Folles, (Monument Antiq. 
ad ealoem Optati, p. 263.) Bivery Follis contained 125 pieces of silver, 
and the whole sum may be computed at about 2400/. 

"• If we are desirous of extenuating the vices of Paul, we must 
suspect the assembled bi^ops of the East of publishing the most 
maUcious calumnies in circular epistles addressed to all the churches cf 
the empire, (ap. £useb. L vii. c. 30.) 

* It appears, nev ?rtheloss. that the vices and immoralities of Paul of 
flamosata had much wBt^bt in tho sontence pronrtunccd agaiiist biio bf 

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A.D.324.] OF THE ROMAN £MPIRB. 55 

dentlj adopted and oUtinately maintaiiied, concerniiiff the 
doctrine of the Trinity, excited the zeal and indignation of 
the Eastern churches."* From E^pt to the Euxine Sea, the 
bishops were in arms and in motion. Several councils were 
held, confutations were published, excommunications were 
pronounced, amUguous explanations were by turns accepted 
and refused, treaties were concluded and violated, and at 
length Paul of Samosata was degraded from his episcopal 
chmcter, by the sentence of seventy or eighty bishops, who 
assembled for that purpose at Antioch, and who, without con- 
sulting the rights of the clergy or people, appointed a succes- 
sor by their own authority. The manifest irregularity of this 
proceeding increased the numbers of the discontented £uitioD ; 
and as Paul, who was no stranger to the arts of courts, had 
insinuated himself into the &vor of Zenobia, he maintained 
above four years the possession of the episcopal house and^ 
oflBce.* The victory of Aurelian changed the face of the 
East, and the two contending parties, who applied to each 
other the epithets of schism and heresy, were either com- 
manded or permitted to plead their cause before the tribunal 
of the conc[ueror. This public and very singular trial affords 
a convincing proof that the existence, the property, the priv- 
ileges, and the internal policy of the Christians, were acknowl- 
edged, if not by the laws, at least by the ma^strates, of the 
empire. As a Pa^an and as a soldier, it could scarcely be 
expected that Aurelian should enter into the discussion, 
whether the sentiments of Paul or those of his adversaries 
were most agreeable to the true standard of the orthodox 
&ith. His determination, however, was founded on the gen- 
eral prindples of equity and reason. He considered the 

^^* His heresy (like those of Noetus and Sabellias, in the saoM 
century) tended to confound the mysterious distinction of the divine 
persbns. Se^ Mosheim, jk 702, <&& " 

iie bishops. The olject of the letter, addressed bv the s3mod to the bishops 
-»/ Rome and Alexandria, was to inform them of the change in the fiiith of 
Paal^ the aHioroations and discussions to which it had given rise, as well as 
»f bis moraU and the whole of his condact Enseb. Hist Eccl. L vii 

* ** Her favorite, (Zenobia's,) Paul of Samosata, seems to have entertained 
«ome riews of attempting a union between Judaism and Christianity; both 
•arties rejected the unnatural alliance.'' Hist of Jews, iii. 175^ and Jost 
^tesdii<i)te der Israeliter, iv. 167. The protection of the severe Zenobia is 
the oohr ctroonistence which may raise a doubt of the notorious iromoniRtv 
rf FasU 3U 

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bishops of Italy as the most icdpartuil and reBl>6Ctabld jdiigm 
among the Ghristiaii3, and as soon as be was infonned that 
they had unanimously approved the seuteoca of the eonoctlf 
he acquiesced in thedr opinion, and immedktely gav<e orders 
that Paul should be compiled to relinquish the temponal |>os- 
sessions belonging to an office, of which, in the judgment of 
his brethren, he had been regularly deprived. Bilt while we 
applaud the justice, we should not overlook the policy, of An* 
relian, who was desirous of restoring and cementing the. de* 
pendence of the provinces on the capital, by every nieftQa 
which could bind the interest or prejudices of any part of his 

Amidst the frequent revolutions of the empire^ the Chris- 
tians still flourished in peace and prosperity ; and notwith- 
standing a. celebrated sera of martyrs has been deduced, {rom 
the accession of Diocletian,"* the new system of poHcy, 
introduced and maint^ed by the wisdom of that prince, 
continued, during, more than eighteen years, to breathe the 
mildest and most liberal spirit of religious toleration. The 
mind of Diocletian himself was less adapted indeed to speeor 
lative inquiries, than to the active labors of war and goyemmeni. 
His prudence rendered him averse to any great iimotration, 
and though his temper w^ not very susceptible of zeal or 
enthusiasm, he always maintained an habitual regard tar the 
ancient deities of the empire. But the leisure of the two 
empresses, of his wife Prisca, and of Valeria, his daughter, 
permitted them to listen with more attention and respect to 
the truths of Christianity, which in every age has acknowl- 
edged its important obligations to female devotion."' . The 

*•* Euseb. Hisi Ecclesiast. L vil c. 30. We are entirely indebted to 
him for the curious story of Paul of SamosatA. 

"* The iBra of Marfyrs, which is st31 ib use amoog the Copts and 
the Abyssinians, must be reckoned from. the 29th of. August^ A. D. 
284 ; as the beginning of the Egyptian year was nineteen (mys earlier 
than the real accession of Diodetiaa See Dissertation Preliminaire a 
TArt de verifier les Dates.* 

^*^ The eicpression of Lactantius, (de M. P. e. 15,) "latc ri ficio polloi 
ooegit/' implies their antecedent conversion to the faitli, bat does not 
feem to justiQr the assertion of Mosheim, (p. 912,) that they had been 
privAtely baptized. 

* On the sura of martyrs see the very cnrioos dissertBtions of Mooi 
deCnnme on somo recently disoovo^d iDscriptions in Egypt and Nabia, f 
1M. ftc.— -M. 

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fffiDcipal eunuclis, Lodan"' Bxid Dorothei.s, Gorgontos oLd 
Andrew, who attended the person, possessed the faror, and 
governed the household of Diocletian, protected hj their pow- 
<>rful influence -the &ith which they had embraced. Their 
example was imitated by many of the most considdrable 
officers of tho palace, who, in their respective stations, had 
the care of the Imperial ornaments, oi the robes, of the fur- 
niture, of the jewels, and even of the private tredsury; and, 
though it might sometimes be incumbent on them to accompany 
the emperor when he sacrificed in the temple,"* they enjoyed, 
with their wives, their children, and their slaves^ the free 
exercise of the Christian religion. Diocletian and his col- 
leagues frequently conferred the most important offices on 
those persons who avowed their abhorrence hf the worship ot 
the g(>ds, but who had displayed abilities proper for the ser- 
vice of the state. The bishops held an honorable rank in 
their respective provinces, and irere treated with distinction 
and respect, not only by the people, but by the magistrates 
themselves. Almost in every city, the ancient churches were 
found insufficient to contain the increasing multitude of prose- 
lytes ; and in ibdir place more stately and capacious edifices 
were erected for the public worship of the faithful. The cor- 
ruption of ^manners and principles, so forcibly lamented by 
Eusebius,"' may be considered, not only as a consequence, 
but as a proof, of the liberty which the Christians enjoyed and 
abused under the reign of Diocletian. Prosperity had relaxed 
the nerves of discipline. Fraud, envy, aud malice prevailed 
in every congregation. The presbyters aspired to the epis- 
copal office, which every day became an object more worth\ 
of their ambition. The bishops, who contended with each 
other for ecclesiastical pieeminence, appeared by their con- 
duct to claim a secular and tyrannical power in the church ; 
and the lively faith which still distinguished the Christians from 
tiie Gentiles, was shown much less in their lives, than in theii 
controversial writings. 

*" M! de Tlllemont (M^moires Ecclesiastiques, torn. y. part i. p. 11. 
1^) has quoted from the Spicileginm of Dom Luc d'Archeri a veri 
eurions io^traction which Bishop Theonas composed for the use oi 
XittdiaD. • 

"* Lactantius, de M. P. c. 10. 

"* Eusebius, Hist Ecclesiast L viil c 1. The reader who considti 
the origMial will not accuse me of heightening the picture. Eusehiui 
was aTOUt sixteen years of age at the accession of the emperor Dio 

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Notwitli&tanding this seeming security, an attentive observer 
ougnt discern some symptoms tii&t threatened the church with 
a more violent persecution than any which she had yet 
endured. The zeal and rapid progress of the Christians 
awakened the Polytheists from their supine indifference in the 
cause of those deities, whom custom and education had taught 
them to revere. The mutual provocations of a religious war^ 
which had already continued above two hundred years, exas- 
perated the animosity of the contending parties. The Pagans 
were incensed at the rashness of a recent and obscure scet, 
which presumed to accuse their countrymen of error, and to 
devote their ancestors to eternal misery. The habits of justi- 
fying the popular mythology against the invectives of an 
implacable enemy, produced in their minds some sentiments 
of faith and reverence for a system which they had been 
accustomed to consider with the most careless levity. The 
supernatural powers assumed by the church inspired at the samo 
time terror and emulation. The followers of tJie established 
reli^on intrenched themselves behind a similar fortification of 
prodigies ; invented new modes of sacrifice, of ezpiatioil, and 
of initiation ; "* attempted to revive the credit of their expiring 
oracles ; '" and listened with eager credulity to every impostor, 
who flattered their prejudices by a tale of wondets.*" Both 
parties seemed to acknowledge the truth of those miracles 

^" We might quote, among a great number of instances, the mys- 
terious worsUp of My^ras,* and the Taurobolia ; the latter of whidi 
became fjEishionable in the time a! the Antonines, (see a Dissertation 
of M. de Boze, in the Memoires de TAcademie des LucriptioDs^ tom. 
il p. 448.) The romance of Apuleius is as full of devotion as of 

^>T The impostor Alexander very strongly reconmiended the oracle 
of Trophooius at Mallos, and those of ApoUo at Olaroe and Miletus, 
(Ludan, tom. il p. 236, edit Beitz.) The last of these, whose ain- 
gular history would fuiiiiah a very curious episode, was consulted by 
Diodetian before he published his edicts of persecution, (Lactantiu^ 

^** Besides the ancient stories of Pythagoras and Aristeas, the cures 
performed at the shrine of iBsculapius, and tho &bleu» related of Apolr 
lonius of Tyana, were frequenUy opposed to the miracles of Christ; 
though I agree with Dr. Lardner, (see Testimonies, voL ill p^ 263, 
862,) that when Philostratus composed, the life of ApoUonius, ne had 
<w such intention. ^ 

* On the extraordinary proCTess of the Mithriac rites, in (he "Went, sea 
£>e Goigniand's translation of Crenzer, vol. i. p. 365, and Note 9, tooL i 
MTt 3, p. 738, &c. -M. 

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A<D.824,| or thb romam shpiub. M 

which were olmnoed by Uieir adversaries; and wliile they 
were ocmtented with ascribing them to the arts of ma^ and 
to the power of dsemons, tiiey mutually ooncarred in restoring 
and establishing the reign of superstition.'*' Philosophy, her 
most dangerous enemy, was now converted into her most use- 
ful eA\j, The groves^ of th4 academy, the gardens of Epicnrua, 
and even the pordoo of the Stoics, were almost deserted, as so 
many (Meters schoc^ of sceptidsra or impety ; ^ and many 
among the Bomame wdre desirous that the writings of Oioero 
shoold be condemned and suppressed by the authority of the 
senate/^^ The prsvailing sect of the new Platonicians judged 
it pmdent to connect themselves with the priests, whom per^ 
haps they despised, again&t the Christians, whom they had 
reason to fear« These fashionable Philosophers prosecuted the 
design of extracting allegorieal wisdom from the fictions of the 
Greek poets ; instituted mysterious rites of devotion for the 
use of their chosen disciples ; recommended the worship of the 
ancient gods aa the emblems or ministers of the Supremo 
Deity, and composed against the faith of the gospel many elab- 
orate tx^iatises,'** whi£ haye since been committed to thu 
flames by the prudence of orthodox emperoro.*^' 

Although the policy of Diocletian and the humanity of Coii« 
•tantios inclined them to preserve inviolate the maxims of 

^"^ It is seriously to be lamented, that the Christian fathers, hy 
Bckoowledging the supernatural, or, as they deem it^ the infernal part 
of Paganism, destroy with their own hands the great advantage wnich 
we might otherwise derive from the liberal concessions of our adver- 

'^ Julian (p. 801, edit. Spanheim) expresses a pious joy, that the 
providence of the gods had extinguished the impious sects, and for the 
most part destroyed the books of the P^honians and Epicureans, 
which had been very numerous, since Epicurus himself composed no 
less than SOO volumes. See Diogenes Laertius, 1. x. c. 26. 

"* Curaque alios audiam mussitare indignanter, et dicere opportere 
Btatui per Senatum, aboleantur ut hsec scripta, quibus Cnristunia 
Religio comprobetur, et vetustatis opprimatur auctoritas. Amobius 
adversus Gentes, L iii p. 103, 104. He adds very properly, Erroria 
conrincite Ciceronem . . . nam intercipere scripta, et publicatam velle 
lubmergere lectionem, non est Deum defenaere sed veritatis testifi- 
tationem timere. 

"* Lactantiua (Divin. Ihstitut. 1. v. c 2, 8) gives a very dear and 
spirited account of two of these philosophic adversaries of the fidtk 
the large treatise of Porphyrv against the Christians consisted of 
durtv boolcs, and was oomposed in Sicily about the year 270. 

'** See Socrates, Hist Eoclesiast I L c. 9. asd Codex Justinian. L i 


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loleratioiiy it was boou diaooTeredthat their two aa9od4tfe»i 
Maximian and Galerius, ^tertained the most implacable ayer- 
noa for the name and religioB of the Ohnstians. The mkids 
of those prinoes had never been enlightened by science; 
education liad never softened their temper. They owed their 
greatoess to their swcurds, and in their most elevated fortifne 
Ihey still retained their superstitious prejudices of seldieia and 
peasants. In the general ^ministration of the provinces tiiej 
obeyed the laws which their bene&ctor had established ; but 
ihev frequently found occasions of exercising within their camp 
and palaces a secret perseeiition^^*^ for wUch the imprudent 
seal of the Christians sometimes offered the most specious 
pretenccBL A sentence of death was executed upon Maxi- 
milianus, an African youths who had been produced by his 
own fe^er* before the magistrate as a sufficient and l^gai 
recruit, but who obstinately persisted in declaring, that his 
consdenee would not permit him to embrace the professicHi 
of a scddier.^** It could scarcely be expected that any gov- 
ernment should suffer the action of Marcellus the Centurion to 
pass with impunity. On the day of a. public festival, that 
officer threw away his belt, his anus, and the ensigns of his 

^** EoBefahiB, L viii & 4, c IT. He limits tiis number of military 
martm, by a remarkable expressioo, (mavton rovrw tig nov koH Sev- 
Tcposy^ of whidi neither his Latin nor French translator have rendered 
the enerey. Kbtwithstanding the authority of Eusebius, and the 
silence of Lactantius, Ambrose, Solpicius, Orosius, <ba, it has been 
long believed, that the Thebaean legion, consisting of 6000 Christians, 
suffered martyrdom by the order of Maximian, in the valley of the 
Pennine Alps. The story was first published about the middle of th'*- 
6th century, by Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, who received it from cer- 
tain persons, who received it from Isaac, bishop of Geneva, who is saicS 
to have received it from Theodore, bishop of Octodurum. The abbey 
of St Maurice still subsists, a rich monument of the credulity of Sigh' 
mund, king of Burgundy. See an excellent Dissertation m xxxvith 
volume of the Biblioth^ue Raisonnfie^. 427—464. 

^*^ See the Acta Sincera, p. 299. Tne accounts of Iiis martyrdom, 
and that of Marcellus, bear every mark of truth and authenticity. 

* M. Gnizot criticizeB Gibbon's acooant of this incident He sappoaes that 
Maximilian was not " produced by his father as a recmit" hat was obliged 
lo appear by the law, wiHch compelled the sons of soldiers to serve 
at 21 years old. Was not this a law of Ckmstantine 1 Neither dees this 
arcomstance appear in the acts. . His father had clearly expected |iim to 
lerre, as he had bought him a new dress ibr tl-e occasion ; yet he refilBed to 
fBToe the conscience of his son, and when Maximilian was cohdoAim^d to 
4mAi, the frther returned home in Joy, blessbg God for having beMowH 
. ■poo huu sadi a son. — M. 

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cffioe, and exclaimckd with a- la^d voioe^ that he winld ob^y 
none but Jesus Christ the eternal King, and that he renouncod 
Imyer the use of eamal weapons^ and the service of an iddta- 
tious master. The soldiers, as soon as they recovered front theii 
astonishment, secured the person of Maioellus. He was ex* 
amined in the citj of Tiagi by the president of that part of 
Mauritania; and as he was convicted by his own o(Hifession, he 
was condemned and beheaded for the crime of desertioa.'^ 
Examples of snoh a nature savor mueh less c^rel^ious perseeution 
than of martial or even civil law ; but they served to alienatQ 
the mind of the emperors, to jas^fy the severity of Galerius, 
who dismissed a great number of Christian officers from their 
employments; and to authorize the opinion, that a sect of en- 
thusiastics, which avowed principles so repugnant to the public 
safety, must either remain uselessi or would soon become dan- 
gerous, subjects of the empire. 

After the success of the Persian war had raised ihe hopes 
and the reputation of Galerius, he passed a winter with Dio- 
cletian in the palace of Nicomedia; and the &te of Christian- 
ity became the object of their secret consjilltations*'*'^ Ilie 
experienced emperor was still inclined to pursue measures 
of lenity; and though he readily consented to exclude the 
Christians from holding any employments in the household 
or the .army, he ui^d in the strongest terms the dangev as 
well as cruelty of shedding the blood of those deluded fanatics. 
Galerius at length extorted { from him the permission d 

"• Acta Sinoera, p. 802* 

'^^ De M. P. c 11. Lactantius (or whoever was the anthor of this 
little treatise^ was, at that time, aa inhabitant of Kioomedia ; but it 
seems difficult to conceive how he could acquire so accurate a knowl- 
edge of what passed in the Imperial cabinetf 

* M. Gaizot here justly obMrves, that it was the necessity of sacrificing 
to the gods, which induced Marccllns to act in this nuuiner.~-M. 

t Lactantius, who was subsequently chosen h^ Constandne to educate 
Crispus, might easily have learned these details nt>m Constantine himself 
already of sufficient age to interest himself in the afiairs of the government, 
and in a position to obtain the best information. — G. 

This assumes the doubtful point of the authorship of the Treatise. — ^H. 

I This permission was not extorted from Diocletian; be took the step 
of his own accord. Lactantius says, m truth, Nee tamen deflectere potml 
(Diocletianus) priecipitis hominis insaniam; placuit ergo amioorum sen- 
tentiam expenri. (De Mort. Perg. c. llj But this measure was in 
aooordance with the artificial character of iMocletian, who wished to have 
Ae appearance of doing ^ood by his own impulse, and evil by the impolae 
•folDeis. Nara erot hujns malitiie, cum bonum quid facere decrevisset, 

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ti&nmoning a council, composed of a few persons * the most 
distinguished in the dvil and military departments of the state. 
The important question- was imitated in their presence, and 
tliose amUtious courtiefs easily discerned, that it was incum- 
bent oh them to second, by their eloquence, the importunate 
violence of the Geesar. It may be pi^um^d, that they in^sted 
on every topic which might interest the pride, the piety, or the 
fears, of then* sovereign in the destruction of Christianity. 
Perhaps they represented, that the glorious work of the defiv- 
erance of the empire was left imperfect, as long as an inde- 
pndent people was permitted to subsist and multiply in the 
heart of the provinces. The Christians, (it might specially 
be alleged,) renouncing the gods and the institutions 6f Rome, 
had constituted a distinct republic, which might yet be sup« 
pressed before it had acquired any military force ; but which 
was already governed by its own laws and magistrates, was 
posseted of a public treasure, and was intimately connected 
in all its parts hy the frequent assembhes of the jbishops, to 
whose decrees Iheir numerous and opulent congregations yield- 
ed an implicit obedience. Arguments like these may seem to 
have determined the reluctant mind of Diocletian to embrace 
« new system of persecution ; but though we may suspect, it 
IS not 4n our power to relate, the secret intrigues of the palace, 
the private views and resentments, the jealousy of women or 
eunuchs, and all those trifling but decisive causes which so 
often influence the fate of empires, and the councils of the 
wisest monarchs.^*' 

**" The only circumBtance which we can discover, is the devotion 
and jealousy of the mother of Galerius. She is described by Lactan- 
dus, as Deorum montium cultriz ; mulier admodum superstitiosa. She 
had a great influence over her son, and was offended by tlie disregard 
of some of her Christian servants.* 

BUkd consilio faciehat, nt Ipse landaretur. Cam aatem malam. quoniam id 
reprehendendam sciebat, m consiliam maltos advocabat, at alioram culpai 
adscriberetar (|aic(^aid ipse deliqaerat. Lact. ib. Eatropias says likewise, 
Mirams callide fait, sagax pneterea et admodam sabtilis ingemo, et qoi 
severitatem soam aliena invidid vellet explere. Eatrop. ix. c. 26. — G. 

The maxmer in which the coarse and anfriendly pencil of the author of the 
rreatise de Mort. Pers. has drawn the character of Diocletian, seems incon- 
listcnt widi this profoomd Bubtilty. Many readers wUl perhaps agree wiUi 
aibbon.— M. 

* This disregard consisted in the Christians fasting and praylcg 
instead of participating in the hanqaets and sacrifices whiph she odo- 
Vated with the Pagans. Dapibns sacrificabat pcene quotidie, ac vicarl't 
ittii epulis exh^bebat. Christiani abstiupbant, et illd cam js^entibas epa 

Digitized by 



The pleasure xji the emperors was at length signified to tbii 
Christiaiis, who, dmng the course of this melanchoij winter, 
had expected, with anxiety, the result of so many secret con- 
sultations. The twenty-t^ird of February^ which corncided 
with the Roman festival of the Terminalia,^** was appointed 
(whether from aoddent or design) to set bounds to the prog- 
ress of Christianity. At the earliest dawn of day, the Prseto- 
rian prssfect,"* aceompankd by several generals, tribunes, 
and officers of the revenue, repaired to the principal church 
of Nicomedift, which was situated on an eminence in the most 
populous and beautifiil part of the city. The doors were 
instantly broke open ; they rushed into the sanctuary ; and as 
they seafbhed in vain for some visible obj^t of worship, ther 
were obliged to content themselves with sommitting to the 
flames the volumes of the holy Scripture. The ministers of 
Diocletiaa were followed by a -numerous body of guards and 
pioneeis, who marched in order of battle, and were provided 
with all tile instruments used in the destruction of fortified 
cities. By theit incessant labor, a sacred edifice, wbid) 
towered above the Imperial palace, and had long excited 
the indignation and envy of the Oenttles, was in a few hours 
levelled with the ground.**' 

The next day the general edict of persecution was pub- 
fished;'** and though Diocletian, still averse to the efiusion 
of blood, hiad moderated the fiiry of Oalerius, who proposed, 
that every one refusing to offer sacrifice should immecuately 
be burnt alive, the penalties inflicted on the obstinacy of the 
Christians might be deemed sufficiently rigorous and efiectual. 
It was enacted, that their churches, in all tbe provinces of the 
empire, should be demolished to their foundations ; and the 

^** The worBfaip and feftival of the ffod Terminus are elegantly 
illostrated by M. ae Boze, ]dJ§m. de T Acadeoue des loficriptiona, torn, l 
p. 60. 

**• In our only MS. of Lactantiua, we read profedus ; but reason, and 
the authority or afl the critics, allow ns, instead of that word, which 
destroyt the(^ sense of the passage, to substitute prmfectus. 

"* lACtantins, de-H. P. c 12, gires ii very lively picture of th« 
destruction of the church. 

"» Mosheira, (p. 92S — 926,) from many scattered passages of Lac- 
tantius and Eusebius, has collected a very just and accurate notion 
of thb edict' though he sometimes deviates into conjectnie and 


ijaniis hi et oratioiibus insisteban : bine concopit odium advc * 
act dc Hist Pers. c 11.— a. 

Digitized by 



puusbment of deatk was deaounoed agiHiiBt %U w)»o shovld 
presume to hold any seoret a^sembUes for the pur{K»e of 
religious worship. The philosophers, who now assumed the 
unworthy office of directing the blind zeal of p6r8ecu%>n, had 
diligently studied the nature aud genius of tue Christian re- 
ligion ; and as thej were not ignorant that the speculative 
doctrines of the faith were supposed to be contained in the 
writings of the prophets, of the evangelists^ oud of the apostles, 
tltey most probably suggested t^e order, that the Ushops and 
presbyters should deliver all their sacred bookS' into the hands 
of the magistratbo ; who. were commanded, und^r the severest 
penalties,. to burn them in a public and solemn manner. By 
the smue edict, the proxierty €i the church was at once con- 
fiscated ; and the several parts of which it might consist were 
either sold to the highest ladder, united to the Imperial do- 
main, bestowed on the cities and corporations, or- grafted to 
the solicitations of rapacious courtiers. After. t^^iiM^ such 
effectual measures to aboUs^ the worship, and to jisaclve the 
government of the Christians, it was thought > necessary to 
subject to the most intolerable hardships the conditic»i of -^iiose 
perverse individuals who should still reject the religion of 
nature, of Rome, and of their ancestors. Persons of a liberal 
birtli were declared incapable of holding any honors or 
employments; slaves were forever deprived of the hopes of 
freedom,, and the whole body of the p^ple were put out of 
the protection of the law. The ju(^es were authoii^d to 
hear ^d to determine every action that was brought against 
a Christian, But the Christians were not permitted to com- 
plain of any injury which they themselves had suffered; and 
thus those unfortunate sectaries were exposed to the severity, 
while they were excluded from the benefits, of public justice. 
This new species of martyrdom, so painful and Kng^ng, so 
obscure and ignominious, was, perhaps, the most proper to 
weary the constancy of the &ithful: nor can it be doubted 
that the passions and interest of mankind were disposed on 
this occasion to second the designs of the emperors. But the 
policy of a well-ordered government lAust sometimes have 
interposed in behalf of the oppressed Christians ; * nor was it 
possible for the Boman princes entirely to remove the appre- 
nensi>n of punishment, or to connive at every act of fraud 

* Una wiuits proof. The edict of Diocletian wm executed in aU ka ri^M 
laring the rest of his leigpc Enseh. HLst^ Keel. 1 viil. c. 13.^6. 

Digitized by 


4.D*324.] OF Tan: bomak smp^e. tft 

aii4L violence, witbc^t expodng ^ tbair own authority niid ll^ 
rest of their, subjieets to the most alanxuDg dangera.^*' 

This edie<t wf^ Bearoelj ei&iibited to the public view^ in ik^ 
most . co^spiciioQB jdaoe of Nicomedia, before it was torn 
dowJQ by ^e Ifmida of a Cbriatiaii, who expressed at the same 
tune, by the bitterest iaveotives, his contempt as well as 
abhorrence for such impious and tyrannical govemc»». His 
offence, accordit^ to the mildest laws, amounted to treason, 
and deserved death. And if it be true that he was a person 
of rank and education, those drcumstanoes could serve only 
to i^gravate bis guiit He was burnt, 6r rather roasted, by a 
slow &e ; and his executioner^, zealous ;t6 revenge the per- 
sonal insult which had been offered to tiie emperors, exhausted 
every refinement of cruelty, without being able to subdue his 
patience, or to alter the. steady and insulting smile which in 
his dying agonies he still preserved in his oounlenance. The 
Christian^ : thotigll they confessed that his conduct had not 
been strictly cc^oirmable to the laws of prudence, admired 
the divine fervor of his seal ; and the excessive commendatloos 
which they lavished on the memory of their liero and martyr, 
contributed jto fix a deep impression of terror and hatred in the 
mind of Diqeletian.'** 

His fears were soon alarmed by the view of a danger from 
which: be very narrowly escaped. Within .fifteen., days the 
palace of fTicomedio, and even the bed-<^amber of JDdocletiaii, 
were twice. in. flames; and though both tames they were extin* 
guis^hed without any material danaage, the singular repetition 
of the fire was justly considered as an evident proof that it 
had not been the effect of chance or negligence. The sus^ 
{»cion naturally fell on the Christians ; and it was suggested, 
with some degree of probability, that those desperate fanatics, 
provoked by their present sufferings, and apprehensive of 
impending calamities, had entered into a conspiracy with their 
£Eiithful brethren, the eunuchs of the palace, against the lives 
of two emperors, whom they detested as the irreconcilable 

"' Many ages afterwards, Edward J. practised, with great succesB^ 
Uie same mi^e of peraecntion against the clei^gy of Sigland. Set 
Hame*s History of Enghind, voL iL p. 800, last 4to edition. 

^** Lactantiuis only calls hun ^uidkm, et si non recte, magno tamer 
•nimo, &c., c. 12. Eosebius (L vih. a 5) adorns him with eeculsrhoDors 
Neither have condescended to mention his nanie ; but the Greeks oel^ 
arate his memory under that of John. See Tillemoot, Mettmrea Metu 
liasti^ues, torn, v part ii. p. 820. 

Digitized by 



^mies ol the chufch of Qod. Jealoosy and resentmen! 
prevailed in every breast^ but eepedally in tbiit of DiocWtian 
A great number of persons, distinguished either bj the offices 
which they had filled, or by the &vor which they had enjoyed, 
were thrown into prison. Every mode of torture was put in 
practice, and the court, as well as city, was polluted with 
many bloody executions.^^ But as it was found impossible 
to extort any discovay of this mysterious transaction, it 
seems incumbent oa us either to presume the innocence, or 
to admire the resolution, of the sufferers. A few days after* 
wards Galons hastily withdrew himself from Nicomedia, 
declaring, that if he delayed his departure from that devoted 
pabce, he should M a sacrifice to the rs^e of the ChristianB. 
The ecclesiastical historians, from whom alone we derive a 
partial and imperfect knowledge of this persecution, are at a 
loss how to account for the fears and dangers of the ejnper* 
ors. Two of these writers, a prinoe and a rhetorician, were 
eye-witnesses of the fire of Nicomedia. The one ascribes it 
to lightning, and the divine wrath ; the other affirms, that i< 
was kindled by the malice of Galerius himsel^^** 

As the edict against the Christiaos was designed for a geiw 
eral law of the whole empire, and as Diocletian and Galerius, 
though they might not wait for the consent, were assured of 
the concurrence, of the Western princes, it would appear 
more consonant to our ideas of policy, that the govemon of 
all the provinces should have received secret instructions to 

"* Lactantiiu de M. P. c. 18, 14. Potentissiml quondam Eunudu 
aecati, per quos Palatium et ipse eouetabftt Enselnus (L viii. c. 6) 
mentions the cruel executions of the eunuchs, Gorgonius and Dorotheus, 
and of Anthimius, bishop of Nicomedia ; and both those writers describe, 
in a vague but tragical manner, the horrid scenes which were acted 
eveif in the Imperial presence. 

'*' See Lactantius, Eusebius, and Constandne, ad Coetum Sancto- 
rum, c zzT. Eusebius confesses his ignorance of the cause of this 

* As the history of these times affords us no example of any attempts 
ssade by the Christians against Ihcir persecutors, we have- no reason, not 
the slightest probability, to attribute to them the fire in the palace; and 
the authority of Constantine and Lactantius remains to explain it M. 
ie TiUemont has shown how they can be reconciled. Hist des Empe- 
reurs, Vie de Diocletian, xix. — G. Had it been done by a Christian, il 
would probably have been a fanatic, who would have avowed and gloried 
ht it Tillemont's supposition that the fire was first caused by ^Rntn!nff. 
nd ftd and locieased by the malioe of Galerius. seems singularly lumntf- 
able ^M. 

Digitized by 



puUbh, on one and the same day, this declaration of war 
within their retpectivo departments. It was at least to be 
expected, that the convenience of the public highways and 
established posts woald have enabled the emperors to trans- 
mit their orders with the utmost despatch iron% the palace of 
Nicomedia to the extremities of the Roman world; and that 
tliey would not have suflfored fifty days to elapse, before the 
edict was published in Syria, and near four months before it 
was signified to the cities of Africa.'*^ This delay may 
perhaps be imputed to the cautious temper of Diocletian, who 
had yielded a reluctant consent to the measures of persecu- 
tion, and who was desirous of trying the experiment under 
his more immediate eye, before he gave Way to the disorders 
and ^soontent whidi it must inevitably occasion in the distant 
provinces. At first, indeed, the magbtrates were restrained 
from the effusion of blood ; but the use of every other severity 
was permitted, and even recommended to their zeal ; nor could 
the Christians, though they cheerfully resigned the oma- 
ments xyf their churches, resolve to interrupt their religious 
assemblies, or to deliver their sacred books to the flames. 
The pious obstinacy of Felix, an African bishop, appears to 
Have embarrassed the subordinate ministers of the govern- 
ment. The curator of his city sent him in chains to the 
proconsul. The proconsul transmitted him to the Ptwtorian 
praefoet of Italy; and Felix, who disdained even to give 
an evasive aiswer, was at length bdieaded at Venusia, in 
Ludania, a place on which the birth of Horace has conferred 
fiune.^** This precedent, and perhaps some Imperial rescript, 
which was issued in consequence of it, appeared to author- 
ize the governors of provinces, in punishing with death the 
refusal of the Christians to deliver up their sacred books. 
There were undoubtedly many perewis who embraced this 
opportunity of obtaining the crown of martyrdom ; but there 
were likewise too many who purchased an ignominious li% 
by discovering and betraying the holy Scripture into the hands 
of infidels. A great number even of bishops and presbyters 
acquired, by this criminal compliance, the opprobrious epithet 

^*' Tillemont, M^mpires Ecdesiast. torn. v. part L p. 48. 

>M See iho Acta Sinoera of Ruinart, p. 853; those of Fein of 
Tliihaia, or IVbrnr, appear much less corrupted than in tht i ' 
•JitioDs. wbidi afford a lively Bpecimen of legendary Uceoic 

Digitized by 


#8 THE 'rEOLINE and FAIjL [A.D.'SM. 

<d Tradttors; had tbeir' offence was produeti^e oi Muob 
present scandal and of mnch fatiU« discord art the Afriean 

Hie copies as well as the yereions of Scn^H^iire, were 
already so ipnltiplied in the empire, that the most isevefo 
inquisition' could no bnger be attended with any £ij|»l oonse- 
quenees^ and even the sacnfice of those volomcis, which, in 
cverjr congregation, were preserred for public nse, required 
the consent of some treacherous and unworthy Chnstian& 
But the ruin of the churches was easily effected by the 
authority of the goyernment, and by the labor of the Pagans. 
In some proyinces, howeyer, the magistrates contents them- 
selyes with shutting up the places of retigious wordiip. It 
others, they more literally complied with the terms of the 
edict; and after taking away the doora, the benches, and-tho 
pulpit, which they burnt as it were in a funeral pile, they 
completely demolished the remainder of the edifice.'** It is 
perhaps to this melancholy occasion that we ^otild apply a 
very remarkable story, which is related with so many cir- 
cumstances of variety and improbability, Ihat it serves rather 
to excite than to satisfy our curiosity. In a small town in 
Phrygia, of whose name as well as situation we are left igno- 
rant^ it should seem that the magistrates and the body of the 
people had embraeed the Christian faith ; and as some resist- 
ance might be apprehended to the execution of the edicts 
the governor of the province was supported by a riumeroua 
detachment of legionaries. On their approach the citizens 
threw themselves into the church, with the resolution either 
of defending by arms that sacred edifice, or of perishing in its 
ruins. They indignantly rejected the notice and permisaon 
which was given 3iem to retire, till the soldiers, provoked by 
their obstinate refusal, set fire to the building on all sides, and 

* '*' See the first book of Optatus of Milevis against the Donatists. 
Paris, ITOO, edit. Dupin. He Kved under the reign of Yalens. 

*"• The ancient monuments, published at me end of Optatus, 
p 261, (fee. describe, in a very oireumstantial manner, the proceedings 
of the governors in the destruction of churches. They made a minute 
Jn/entory of the plate, Ac, which they found in them. That of the 
church of Cirta, in Numidia, is still extant. It consisted of two 
chalices of gold, and six of silver ; six lims, one keitle, seven lampsi 
all likewise of silver ; besides a large quantity of brass ntensOiB, and 
WMring apparel 

Digitized by 


4.D. 324.] OF JBE ROMAN BMFXBB; ft 

toMODied^ by dus exteordmaty kind of martyrdom, a gieU 
aumber of Phryguusy with their wires aad childien.^*^ 

Smoe a%ht distioiiaiion^ though they wero snppreased 
ahnoBi aa .aooa as eacilad, ia S^ia and the fiontieia of 
Amienia, afforded the enemies of the chmch a very phtnsible 
occasion to insiniiate^ that thoae troubles had been secretly 
fomenied by the intrigues of the bislK^ who had aheady 
fornotteti . their ostentatious profiassioDs of passive and unlim* 
(tea..obedirace.''' The resentment,, or . the fears, of Die- 
(detimiy at length transported him beyond the bounds of 
modenttioDy which he had hitherto preserved, and he declared, 
in a series of eniel edicts,! his intention of abolishing the 
Christian, name. By the first of these edicts, the governors 
of the pnrmnces were directed to apprehend all persons of tihe 
ecdesisstical order ; and the prisons, destined fer the v&ett 
criminals, were soon fiUed with a multitude of bishops, ptes- 
byters, deacons, readers, and exorcists. By a second edict, 
the magistrates were commanded to employ every method 

"* Lactantius (Inatitot Divin. v. 11) confines the calamity to fb^ 
conveniieultHHf with its eongregation. Easebius {j/m, 11) extends it 
to a. whole oty,* and mtrodnces aometbing rery lik« a xe^nlar siege 
His ancieiit.lAtin translator, Rufions, adds the important circumstance 
of the permission given to the inhabitants of. retiring from thenco 
. As Phr^gia reached to the confines of Isauria,' it is possible that the 
restless temper of those independent barbarians may have contributed 
to this-n^fdrftone. 

^" SqsebioB, i yiii. c. d. M. de Yalcis (with boom probability) 
thinks thai he has discovered the Syrian rebellion in an oration of 
Libanius ; and that it was a rash attempt of the tribune Eugenins, 
who with onfy five hundred men seized Antioch, and might perhaps 
allure tiie Christians by the promise of religious toleration. From 
Eos^bios, (1. ix> c. -8,) as well as from Moses of Chbrene, (HiBi& 
iVrmen. i % 7*7, 4ic^ it may be inferred, that Christianity was already 
introduced into Armenia. 

* Uoiversam popalum. Lact Inst Bir. v. ll.i-Q. 

t He had airway passed them in bis first edict It does no^ appear 
that yesentahe n t or fear had any share lb the new peraeencions t pma^ 
they ^riglsatM in Mperstition, and' a spednos apparent respect for its 
QiinistcxiB. The oracle of A|K)11o, oonsalted by Diocletian, gave no answer ; 
and said that jost men hindered it fit>m speakinK. Constantine, wlio 
iflsisted at the ceremmiy, affirms, vrifh an oath, that when qnertioned 
iboat these bmd, the fa)^ priant naawd the Cfaristiaos. "The lUnperar 
eagerly setaoed op this answer; and drew against the innocent a swov^ 
destined coUy to panish the ^ilty : he instantly issued edicts, writteir, if I 
nay use the expression, with a poniard; and ordered the Judges to 
(fflploy all their skin to invent new modes of p aiiishraent Enseo. Vit 
CmsUnt. 1. i' c 54."— G. 

Digitized by 



of severitj, which might reeUdm them from thea* odioiif 
saperstitioii, and obl%e them to rotwn to the established 
wonhip of the gods. This rigocous order was extended, by 
a subsequent edict, to the whole, body oi Ohristiaas, who were 
exposed to a violent and general peisecution."' Instead of 
tnose salutary restraints^ which had required the direct and 
solemn testimony of an aocuser, it became the duty as well 
as the interest of the Imperial officers to discover, to pur- 
sue, and to torment the most obnoxious among the iaithfiiL 
Heavy penalties were denounced against all who should pre^ 
o/ sume to save a prescribed sectary from the just indignation 
' of the gods, and of the emperors. Yet, notwithstanding 
the severity of this law, the virtuous courage of many of 
the Pagans, in concealing their friends or relataoos, afibrds 
an honoraUe proo^ that the rage of superstition had not 
extinguished in their minds the sentiments of nature and 

Diocletian had no sooner published his edicts against the 
Christians, than, as if he had been desirous of committiDg to 
other hands the work of persecution, he divested himself of 
the Imperial purple. The character and situation of his coI« 
leagues and successors sometimes urged them to enforce, 
and sometimes inclined them to suspend, the execution of 
these rigorous laws ; nor can we acquire a just and distinct 
idea< of this important period of ecclesiastical history, unless 
we separately consider the state of Christianity, in the difiei^ 
ent parts of the empire, during the space of ten years, which 
elapsed between the first edicts of Diocletian and the final 
peace of the church. 

The mild and humane temper of Constantius was averse to 
the oppression of any part of his subjects. The principal 
offices of his palace were exercised by Christians. He loved 
their persons, esteemed their fidelity, and entertained not 
any dislike to their religious principles. But as long as Con- 
stantius remained in the subordinate station of Caesar, it was 
not in his power openly to reject the edicts of Diocletian, or 
to disobey the commands of Maximian. His authority con- 

^** See Moflhetm, p. 938: the text of EtweHus very pUinljf ahowa 
that the governors, whose powen were enlarged, not rMtruned, by 
^ the new laws, conld punish with death the most obstinate Christtam^ 
M an example to their brethren. 

'•* Athanasius, p. 833, ap. Tflleraont, >Um. Ecclcsiast Uixn v 
part i. 90. 

Digitized by 


▲.D.d24.] or THS KOUAiSt smpihe. 71 

triboted, however, to alleviate the sufferings which ke pitied 
and abhorred. He ooosented with reluctaooe to the rain of 
the (lurches ; but he ventared to ]m>tect the Chndtians thenw 
selves fiom tiie iwey of the populace, and from the rigor of 
the laws. The provinoes of Gaol (under which we maj 
probably indnde those of Britain) were indebted for the single 
lar tranquillity whidi they enjoyed, to the gentle interpositiop 
of their soverdga.^** But Datianus, the president or govs* 
emor of Spun, .actuated either by zeal or policy, chose lathei 
to execute the public edicts of the emperors, than to under* 
stand the secret intentions ci Constaotius ; and it can scarcely 
be doubted, that his provincial administration was stained with 
the l^ood of a few martyrs.^^' The elevation of Constantius 
to the supreme and independent dignity of Augustus, gave a 
free scope to the exercise of his virtues, and the shortness of 
his reign did not prevent him finom esjtabhshing a system of 
tolerati<Hi, of which he left the precept and the example to his 
^n Constantiae. His fortunate son, from the first moment 
of his accession, declaring himself the protector of the church, 
at length deserved. the appellation of the firat emperor who 
publidy professed and estaUished the Christian religion. The 
motives of his conversion, as ihej may variously be deduced 
from benevolence, from policy, ^cam conviction, or from 
remorse, and the progress of the revolution, which, under his 
' powerful influence and that of his sons, rendered Christianity 
the reigning religion of the Boman empire, will foim a very 
interestii^ and important chapter in the present volume^of this 
history. At^ present it may be suffident to observe, that 
every victory of Constantine was productive of some relief or 
benefit to the church. 

^"' Eusehius, L viiL c 13. Lactantius de M. P. c. 16. Dodwell 
(Dissertai Cyprian. x\. 75) represents them as inconnstent with 
eadi other. Bat the former evidently speaks of CoDstantiufl in the 
station of Caesar, and the latter of the same prince in the raok of 

"' Datianus is mentioned, in Gruter's Inscriptions, as having deteiw 
mined tlie limits between the territories of Paz Julia, and those of 
Ebora, both cities in the southern part of Lusitania. If we recollect 
the n^ghborhood of those places to Cape St Vincent, we may suspect 
that the celebrated deacon and martyr of that name had been hiaecdi- 
rately assigned by Pnidentius, Ac, to Saragossa^ or Valentia* Se« 
the pompons history of his st^erin^, in the MSmoires de Tillemont, 
torn. V. part iL p. 68 — 85. Some critics are of opinion, that the de- 
partment of Constantius, as Caesar, did not include Spain, which itiU 
Mntinued under the immediate jurisdiction of Maximiaa 

Digitized by 



Hie proTinoes of Italy and Africa expetienoed a sbofi Uit 
idolent pasecntioii. The ligorousedida of Diodfltiaii -:wer« 
stik&y and leheerfullj executed bj bis asaodaie Sfsniakiii 
wkohftd long bated l^e Ohnstiana, and whc ddigbtod in liets 
of blood and Tiolenoe. In the autumn oi the first year of the 
pereeinition, the two emperors inet at Rome to celebrate their 
triumph ; several oppressive laws appear to have issued ftcm 
their secret consultations, and the diligence of the noagistrates 
was animated by the presence of tbnir sovereigns. - ■ After 
Diocletian had divested himself of the purple, Italy anid Afnca 
were administered under the name of Severus, and were 
exposed, without defence, to the implacable resentment of 
his master Galerius. Among the mai^tyrs of Rome, Adauctus 
deserves the notice of posterity. He was of a noble family in 
Italy^ and had raised himself through the succeselve honors 
of the pakoe, to the inHportent office of treasurer of the private 
demesnes. Adauctus is the more remar^ble for being the 
only person of rank and distinction who appean to have mz& 
fered death, during the whole course of this g^ieral perseciH 

The revolt of Maxentiua immediately restored peace to the 
churches of Italy and Africa; and the same tyrant who 
oppressed every other dass of his subjects, showed himself 
just, humane, and even partial, towards the afSbted Chris- 
tians. He depended on their gratitude and afifectibn/aod very 
naturally presumed, that the injuries whidi theyr had suffered, 
and tihe dangers which they slili appr^ended fiom his most 
inveterate enemy, would secure the fidelity of a party already 
considerable by their numbers and opulence."* Even the 

*" Eufiebius, 1. viiL c. 11. Grater, Inscrip. p. llTl, No. 18. Ru- 
fiDus has mistakep the office of Adaactus, as well as the place of his 

"8 Eusehitis, 1. viil c. 14. But as Mazentiiis was vanquished br 
donstantine, it suited the purpose of littctaiitius to place his death 
among those of the persecutors.! 

* M. Gaizot saggests the powcrfal etinachB of the palace, Dorotheas, 
Oorgomns, and Ancmsw, admitted hy Gibbon himself to hav^ been put to 

t iLQmaot diroclly oontcadicte- titiB ataJtemeait'of Giblmv aiid 

to Skucbins. Maxentias, who aasiimed the power in-IfBlv^ pretendw «l 
first to he a Christian, [KaffvariKptmro^) to gain the favor of toe Boman peo 
pie ; he ordered Ids ministers to cease to persecute the Christians, anect> 
ing a hypocritical piety, in order to appear more mild than his predeoes- 
iors; bat his actions soon proved that he was veiy different from whaf 
liny bad at 0r8t hoped'' The actions of Maxeiitms weie tbon of a laiioNi* 

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ocmdiict of ISax^itiiis towaids the bishops of Rome and Oav- 
thage maj be eonsidered as the proof of bis toleration, since it is 
probable that the most orthodox prinoes would adopt the same 
measrareft with regard to their established clergy. MarceUos, 
the former of these prelates, had thrown the capital into con- 
fusion, by the severe penance which he imposed on a great 
number of Christians, who, daring the kte persecution, had 
renounced or dissembled then: rel^on. The rage of faction 
Ixoke out in fi^uent and violent s^itions ; the blood of the 
fiuthful was shed by each other's hands, and the exile of Mar-* 
oeHuSy whose prudence seems to have been less eminent than 
his zetfd, was found to be the only measure capable of restoring 
peace to the distracted church of Rome/'* The b^avior of 
Mensurius, bishop of Carthage, appears to have been still more 
reprehensible. A deacon of that city had published a libel 
against the emperor. The offender took reftige in the epis- 
copal palace ; and though it was somewhat early to advance 
any claims of ecclenastical immunities, the bishop refused to 
deliver him up to the officers of justice. For this treaaoiiable 
resistance, Mensunus was summcHied to court, and instead of 
receiving a legal sentence of death or banishment, he was pev» 
mitted, atler a short examination, to return to his diocese."* 

*•• The epitaph of Marcellus 13 to be found ia Gruter, Inscrip. p. 
M2y No. 8, and it contains all that we know of lus history. Marcellinus 
and Marcellus, whosfi names follow in tlie list of popes, are supposed 
by many critics to be different persons ; but the learned Abbd de Lon- 
Ipierue was convinced that they were one and the same. 

Veridicus reotor lapais qaia^ecimliia flere 
Praedixit miseris, mit omnibuB hostis amaruB. 
Rinc furor, hinc odium ; sequitur discordia, Utes, 
Seditio, casdee; BolvuDtiir foedera pacta. 
Crimen ob alterius, Christum qui m pace ne^avit 
Finibus expnlsns patrisB est feritate Tyraimi. 
H«BC breviter Damasus yoluit comperta referre : 
Maroelli popalus meritum oogaoscere posset. 

We may observe that Damasus was made Bishop of Rome, A. D. 
*" Optatus contr. Donatisi L i. c. 17, 18.» 

ions and cruel tyrant, but not those of a persecutor: the Christians, like the 
rest of Ms subjects, suffered from his vices, hut they were not oppressed as a 
aeet. Christiaa females wfSre. exposed to his lusts, as well as to the brutal 
▼ioleiioe of bis colleague Maximiaa, but they were not selected as Chris- 
aiaai,— M. 

* The words of Optatus are, Profeotus (Roman) oausam dixit ; jussos est 
reverti Carthaginem} perhaps, ia pleading his cause, he exculpated I 
iiiioe lie received an order to return to Carthage. — G. 
VOL. II. — D 

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Such was the happy oonditioa of tiie CSirisfiaii m&jecte of Mio^ 
•ntius, tLat whenever Uiej were desuous ci pirocwii^ for thor 
own use any bodies of martyrs, they were obliged to purchase 
ihem from the meet distant provinces of the East A stoiy is 
related of Aglae, a Roman lady, descended from a consular 
&mily, and possessed of so ample an estate, that it required 
the management of sevBnty*three stewards. Among thesc^ 
Boni£EUie was the favorite of his mistress ; and as Aglae mixed 
love with devotion, it is reported that he was admitted to share 
* her bed. Her fortune enabled her to gratify the piova desire 
of obtaining some sacred relics from the £»t She intruated 
Bonifhce with a considerable sum of gold, and a large (fuantiity 
of aromatics; and her lover, attended by twdlve horsemen and 
three covered chariots, undertook a remote pilgrimage, as &r 
as Tarsus in Oilieia."^ 

The sanguinary temper of Galerius, the first and principal 
author of the persecution, was formidable to those* Christians 
whom their misfortunes had placed within the limits of his 
dominions ; and it may fairly be presumed that many persons 
of a middle rank, who were not confined by the chains either 
of wealth or of poverty, very frequently deserted their native 
countiT, and sought a refuge in the milder climate of the 
Westf As long as he commanded only the armies and 
provinces of Ulyricum, he could with difiSculty either find or 
make a considerable number of niartyTs, in a warlike country, 
which had entertained the missionaries of the gospel widi 

"* The Acts of the Passion of St. Boniface, which abound in miracles 
and declamation, are publislied by Ruinart, (jx 283 — 291,) both in 
Greek and Latin, from the authority of very ancient manuscripts.* 

* We are ignorant whedicr Aglae and Boniface were ChristianB at the 
time of their unlawful connection. See TillemonL Mem, Eccles. Note on 
the Persecution of Domitiun, torn. y< note 82, M. de Tillemont proves also 
that the history is doubtful. — G. 

Sir D. Dalrymplo (Lord Hailes) calls the story of A^lac and Bonifiice as of 
equal authoritjr with oar popular histories of Whiltmgton and Hickathrift. 
Christian Antiquities, ii. 64.-^M: 

t A little after this, Cbristianitv was propagated to the north of the Roman 
provinces, among the tribes of Germany : a multitude of Christians, forced 
by the persecations of the Bmperors to take refuge among the Barberiaiu^ 
were reoeived v^th kindness. Buseb. de Yit Constant ii 83. Semler 
Select cap. H. B. p. 115. The Goths owed their first knowled^ of Clnii- 
«i«Bity to a young girl, a prisoner of war ; she continued hi tiie midst of then 
ber exercises of piety ; she fasted, prayed, and praised God day and mriUL 
When she was asked what good woold come of so niuch palnfkl tnniDk^ 
she answeredt " It laHhas that Christ the Son of God, is to be heaoreiL* 
fjkwomen, ii. c. 6. — G. 

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4<D. 824.] i#r tus bovah smpomi. Ti 

■KOfe Goldpes and reluctanoe than any other paii of the 
ampire."' But when Gcdorius had obtained toe suprema 
power, and the govemoient of the Bast, he indulged in 
their fullest extent his seal and cruelty,' not only in the 
provinces of Thrace and Asia, which acknowledged his 
inamediate juri8(]tictiQn, but in those of Syria, Palestine, and 
E^^t, where Maximin gratified his own inclinatioD, by 
vidding a rigorous obedience to the stem commands of his 
bene£uitor."' The frequent disappointments of his ambitious 
views, the experience of six years of persecution, itnd the 
salutary reflections which a lingering and painful distemper 
suggested to the mind of Galeriua, at length convinced him 
that the most violent efforts of despotism are insufficient to 
extirpate a whole people, or to subdue their religious preju- 
dices. , Desirous of repairing the mischief that be had occa- 
sioned, he published in his own name, and in those c^ Licin- 
ius and Constantine, a general edict, which, aftet a pompous 
recital of the Imperial titles, proceeded in the following man- 
ner: — 

^ Among the important cares which have occupied our 
mind for the utility and preservation of the empire, it was 
our intention to correct and reestablish all things according 
to the ancient laws and public discipline of the Romans. We 
were particularly desirous of redaiming into the way of rear 
son and nature, the deluded Christians who had renounced the 
religion and ceremonies instituted by their fathers ; and pre- 
sumptuously despising the practice of antiquity, had invented 
extravagant laws and opinions, according to the dictates of 
their fancy, and had collected a various society from the dif- 
ferent provinces of our empire. The edicts, which we have 
published to enforce the worship of the gods, having exposed 
many of the Christians to danger and distress, many having 
suffered death, and many more, who still persist in their 

"* During the four first centuries, there exist few traces of either 
bishope' or Inshoprics ia the western Blyricum. It has been thought 
probable that the primate of Milan extended hb jurisdiction Ofver 
cirmium, the capital of that great province. See. the Geographia 
Sacra of Charles de St Paul, p. 68 — 76, with the observations of 
Lncas Holstenius. 

"* The viiith book of Eusebius, as well as the supplement concern- 
ing the martyrs of Psdestine, principally relate to the persecution of 
Oalerius and Maximin. The general lamentations witn which Liici^ 
taotius opens the vth book of his Divine Institutions^ allude to HhKt 

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• • tut DfiCUKX AN0 FALL [A.D. S24 

impious folly, being left d^titute of antf public exercise of 
religioD, we are disposed to extend to those unhappy men the 
effects of our wonted clemency. We permit them therefore 
freely to profess their private opinions, and to assemble in 
their conventicles without fear or molestation, provided always 
that they preserve a due respect to the established laws and 
government By another rescript we shall signify our inten- 
tions to the judges and magistrates ; and we hope that out 
indulgence will engage the diristians to offer up their prayers 
to the Deity whom they adore, for our safety and prosperitj. 
for their own, and for that of the republic.""* It is not 
usually in the language of edicts and manifestos that we 
should search for the real character or the secret motives of 
princes; but as these were the words of a dying emperor, 
bis situation, perhaps, may be admitted as a pledge of his 

When Galerius subscribed this edict of toleration, he was 
well assured that Licinius would readily comply with the 
raclinations of his friend and benefactor, and that any meas- 
ures in favor of the Christians would obtain the approbation 
of Constantine. But the emperor would not venture to insert 
in the preamble the name of Maximin, whose consent was of 
the greatest importance, and who succeeded a few days after- 
wards to the provinces of Asia. In the first six months, how- 
ever, of his new reign, Maximin affected to adopt the prudent 
counsels of his predecessor; and though he never conde- 
scended to secure the tranquillity of the church by a public 
edict, Sabinus, his Praetorian prsefect, addressed a circular 
letter to all the governors and magistrates of the provinces, 
expatiating on the Imperial <jlemency, acknowledging the 
invincible obstinacy of the Christians, and directing the oflS- 
cers of justice to cease their ineffectual prosecutions, and to 
3onnive at the. secret assemblies of those enthusiasts. In 
consequence of these orders, great numbers of Christians 
were released from prison, or delivered from the mines. The 

*'* Ensebios (1. viil c. IT) has given us a Greek version, and Lao- 
tantius (de M. P. c 84) the Latin original, of this memorable edict 
N'eiiher of these writers seems to recollect how directlj it oontradiois 
whatever they have just affirmed of the remorse and repentance of 

• Bat Gibbon has answered this by his just observation, that It is not in 
ibc Ungna^ of edicU and manifestos that we should search * * for Ai 
secrotmotives of princes.— M. . 

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4.]>,<a24.] or TUX rqhan xmpirk. 79 

eonfeteorsy »oging hymns of triumph^ returned into their own 
eonntines ; and these who had yielded to the violence of the 
tempest, solicifed with tears of repentance their readmiasion 
into the bosom of the chmt^."* 

But this treacherous calm was of short duration ; nor could 
the Christians of the East place any confidence in the char* 
acter of their sovereign. Cruelty and superstition were the 
ruling passions of the soul of Maximin. The former sug* 
gest^ the means, the latter pointed out the olijects of perse* 
cution. The emperor was devoted to the worship of the gods, 
fo the study of magic, and to the beUef of oracles. The 
prophets or philosophers, whom he revered as the &vorit6R 
of Heaven,' were fi^quently raised to the government of 
provinces, and admitted into his most secret coundls. They 
easily convinced him that the Christians had been indebted for 
thdr victories to their regular discipline, and that the weak- 
ness of polytheism had principally flowed from a want of 
union and subordination among the ministers of religion. 
A system of government was therefore instituted, which was 
evidently copied from the policy of the church. In all the 
great cities of the empire, the temples were repaired and 
beautified by the order of Maximin, and the officiating priests 
of the various deities were subjected to the authority of a 
superior pontifif destined to oppose the bishop, and to prorootb 
the cause of paganism. These pontiff acknowledged, in 
their turn, the supreme jurisdiction of the metropolitans or 
high priests of tiie province, who acted as the immediate vice* 
gerents of the emperor himself. A white robe was the ensign 
of their dignity ; and these new prelates were carefully selected 
firom the most noble and opulent families. By the influence 
of the magistrates, and of the sacerdotal order, a great num- 
ber of dutiful addresses were obt^ned, particularly from the 
cities 6f Nicomedia, Antioch, and Tyre, which artfully rep- 
resented the well-known intentions of the court as the gen- 
eral sense of the people; solicited tiie emperor to consult 
the laws of justice rather than the dictates of his clemency; 
expressed their abhorrence of the Christians, and huirbly 
prayed that those impious sectaries might at least be ex- 
duded from the limits of their respective territories. The 
answer of Maximin to the address which he obtained from 
the citizens of Tyre is still extant He praises their zeal and 

i^* Eiunbius, L ix c. 1. He inserts the epistle of the 

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devotion in terms of the h^hest satis&ction, descants on 
the obstinate impiety of the Christians, imd betrays, by the 
readiness with which he consents to their banishment, that he 
considered himself as receiving, riather than as conferring, tin 
obligiation. The priests as well as the magistrates were em- 
powered to enforce the execution of his edicts, whidi were 
engraved on tables of brass ; and though it was Tecomtnended 
to them to avoid the effiision of blood, the most cruel and 
ignominious punishments were inflicted on the refractory 

The Asiatic Christians had every thing to dread from th« 
severity of a bigoted monarch who prepared his measures of 
violence with such deliberate policy. But a few months had 
scarcely elapsed before the ecticis published by the two We8^ 
em emperors obliged Maadmin to suspend the posecution 
of his designs: the civil war which he so rashly undertook 
against lidnius employed all his attention; and the' defeat 
and death of Maximin soon delivered the church from the 
last and most implacable of her enemies."' 

"* See Eusebius, 1. viil c 14, L ix. c. 2 — 8. Lactantias de H. P. c 86w 
These writers agree in representing the arts of Maximin ; but the former 
relates the execution of seyeral martyrs, while the latter expressly 
affirms, ocddi servos Dei retuit* 

"'' A few da^s before his death, he published a very ample edict of 
toleration, in which he imputes all the seyerities whi(£ the ChnstianQ 
suffered to the judges' and governors, who had misunderstood hifi 
mtentions. See the edict of Eusebius, 1 ix. c 10. 

* It is easy to reconcile them; it is sufficient to quote the entire text of 
Lactantias: Nam cum clementiam specie tenas profiteretur, occidi aervoa 
Dei vetoit, debilitari jussit. Itaque confessoribus effodiebantar oculi, ompu;- 
tabantur manus, nares vel auriculn desecabantur. Hsbc ille moliens Coiv 
stantini litteris deterretur. Bissimnlavit ergo, et tamen, si qais iociderit. 
mari occolte mergebatar. TUa detail of torments inflicted on ue Christiana 
easily reconciles Lactantias and Eusebius. Those who died in coosequence 
•f their tortures, those who were plunged into the sea, might well pass for 
martyrs. The mutilation of the worda of Lactantius has alone given rise to 
the apparent oontradiction.-^G. 

Easebiua. ch. vl, relates the public martyrdom of the aged bishop of 
Emesa, with two others, who were thrown to the w9d beasts, the behead- 
mg of Peter, bishop of Alexandria, with several others, and the death of 
Lucian, presbyter of Antioch, who was carried to Numidia, and put to 
death in prison. The contradiction is direct and nndeniablc, for aluiough 
Eusebius may have mxsplaced the former martyrdoms, it mvff be doubted 
whether the anthorir^ of Maximin extended to Nioomedia till aft^ the 
ioaih of GhJerius. The last edict of toleration issued by Maximin and 

Iablished by Eusebius himself, Eccl. Hist. ix. 9, ooBfirma the statcflseat eC 

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A.D. 324.] OF THIS ROMAK uipnuE* n 

In this general view of the peneci^oD, which was fi?st 
authorized by the edicts of Diocletian, I have purposely re- 
frained fi^m describing the particular sufierii^ and deams of 
the Christian martyrs. It would have been an easy task^ from 
the history of Eusebius, from the declamations of Lactantius, 
and from the most ancient acts, to ooUect a long series of 
horrid and disgustful pictures, and. to fill many pages with 
racks and scourges, with iron liooks and red-hot beds, and 
with all the variety of tortures which fire and steel, savage 
beasts, and more savage executioners, could inflict upon the 
human body. These melancholy scenes might be enlivened 
by a crowd of visions and miracles destined either to delay 
the death, to celebrate the triumph, or to discover the relics 
of those canonized saints who suffered for the name of Christ 
But I cannot determine what I ought to transcribe, till I am 
satisfied bow much I ought to believe. The gravest of the 
ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses, 
that he has related whatever might redound to the glory, and 
that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of 
religion.^^* Such an acknowledgment will naturally ezdte a 
suspidon that a writer who has so openly violated one of the 
fundamental laws of history, has not paid a very strict regard 

»Tt Such is the fair dedaction from two remarkable passages in 
- Easebias, L yiil c. 2, and de Martyr. PalestiiL c 12. The prudence of 
the historian has exposed his own character to censure and suspicioa 
It was well known that he himself had been thrown into prison ; and 
it was suggested that he had purchased his deliverance by some 
dishonorafie compliance. The reproach was urged in his lifetime, and 
even in Ida presence, at the council of Tyre. See Tillemont, Memoir ef* 
Eccleaiastiques, tom. viil part i p. 67.* 

* Historical criticism does not consist in rejecting indiscriminately all the 
facts which do not agree with a particnlar system, as Gibbon does in this 
chapter, in which, except at the last extremity, be will not consent to 
believe a martyrdom. Anthorities are to be weighed, not excluded from 
examination. JNow, the Pagan historians justify in many places the details 
which have heen transmitted to us by the historians of the church, con- 
cerning the tcHtures' endured by the Christians. Celsos reproaches tlie 
Christiana with holding their assemblies in secret, on account of the fear 
inspired hy their safiferinga* "for when you are arrested," he says, "you 
are dragged to punishment ; and, before yon are pat to death, ^rou have to 
Bufier all Idnds of tortures."^ Origen cont Cels. 1. i. ii vi. viii. j^assim. 
Libanius, the panegyrist of Julian, says, while speaking of the Christians, 
•"Those who followed a corrupt religion were in continual apprehensions ; 
chev feared lest Julian should mvent tortures still more refined than those to 
which they had been exposed before, as mutilation, burning alive, &c. ; Un 
the emperors had inflicted upon thrm all these barbarities." Lib. Parent ^ 
lolian. ap. Fab. Bib. GrtEc. No. 9, No. 58, p. 283 — G. 

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to the observanoe of the other ; and the suspidon will derive 
additioDal credit from the character of Eusebius,* which waA 
less tinctured with credulity, and more practised in the arts of 
courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries. On 
some particular occasions, when* the magistrates were exas» 
perated by some personal motives of interest or resentment, 
when the zeal of the martyrs urged them to forget the rules 
of prudence, and perhaps of decency, to overturn the altars, 
to pour out imprecations against the emperors, or to strike the 
judge as he sat on his tribunal, it may be presumed, that 
every mode of torture which cruelty could invent, or con- 
stancy could endure, was exhausted on those devoted vic- 
tims."* Two circumstances, however, have been unwarily 

"* The ancient^ and perhaps autheDtic» account of the sufferings of 
Tarachus f and his companions, (Acta Smcei-a Ruinart, p. 419 — 448.) 
is filled' with strong expressions of resentment and contempt, whidi 
could not fiul of irritating the magistrate* The behayior of iSdesaos 
to Hierocles, praefect of £gypt> was still more extraordinary. Adyvic 
Tt Ka\ epyois tov SiKaorfiv . . . jrtpi^aXuw, Euseb. de Martyr. Palestia 
c 64 

* This sentence of Gibbon has giv^en rise to seTeral learned disMrtt- 
no&£: Uoller, de Fide Eusebii Cadsar, &c., Eftvms, 1813. Danzios^ de 
Busebio Cabs. Hist Eccl. Scriptore, ejasque lide historic& recte SBsti- 
mandd, &o., Jenos, 1815. Kestner Commei^tatio de Enaebii Hist Ecdes. 
oonditoris anctoritate et fide, &c. See also Eeaterdahl, de FontiUos His- 
torias Ecdes. Eusebiante, Lond. Gotb., 1826. Gibbon's inference may 
appear stronger than the text will wui-.trnt, yet it is difficalt after reading 
the passages, to ^smiss all suspicion of partiality from the mind. — ^M. 

t M. Gnizot states, that the acts of Tarachas and his companion coop' 
tain nothing that appears dictated by violent feelings, (sentiment datr6.) 
Nothing can be more painful than the constant attempt of Oibbon 
throughout this discussion, to find some flaw in the virtue and hefoiam <A 
the martyrs, some extenuation for the cruelty of the persecutors. But 
truth must not be sacrificed even to well-grounded moral indignation. 
Though the language of these martyrs is in great part that of cal^. de- 
fiance, of noble firmness, yet there are many expressions which betray 
<' resentment and contempt" " Children of Satan, worshippers of Devils," 
is their common appellation of the heathen. One of them calls the judge; 
dvaiiiffrare ; another, Oriptoiv dvaiSicrars rvpavve ; cms curse^ and delares 
that he will curse the Emperors, ^piaa, xal i0pta<a Xoijio^s Sm-as ital aiu^irSraf 
as pestOentiai and bloodthirsty tyrants, whom God will soon visit in his 
wrath. On the other hand, though at first they speak the milder language 
of persuasion, the cold barbarity of the judges and officers might stuely 
have called forth one sentence of abhorrence from GiU)on. On the first 
unsatisfactory^ answer, " Break his jaw," is the order of tiie judge. They 
direct and witness the most excruciating tortures; the people, as M. Gkiizot 
observes, were so much revolted by the cruelty of Maximus, that when the 
- martyrs appeared in the amphitheatre, fear seized on all hearts, and sea- 
era! murmurs against the unjust judge ran through the assembly. It ia 
dngular, at least that Gibbon should have quoted " as probably autfaeu- 
tic," acts so much embellished with miracle as these of Tarachus are, par 
tksolarly towards the end. — M. 

t Scarcely were the authorities informed of this, than the presldeat «# 

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A.]>*81^4.] ov THB ROMAN cunsi. M 

maptionedy which inaSmiate that fbe general treatment of the 
Chriftiianis who had been apprehead^ by the offieen of jiw- 
tioe, waa less mtoj^rable tb^n it is usnaUj ima^ned to have 
beep. 1* The ooof^aaors who were condenmed to work in 
the rallies were penpltted by the hnmAnity orthe neglifmoe 
oi tbeir keepers to build dbapeb, and freely to proim their 
religion in the midst of those diearj habitatioDs/'* 2. liie 
bifthope wore obliged to check and to censure the forward sod 
of the ChristiaBS, who voluntarily threw themselves into the 
hands of the mi^strates. Some of these were penons op- 
pressed by poverty apd debts, who bHndly sought to terminate 
a miserable existence by a glorious death. Others were 
allured by the hope that a short con&iement would expiate 
the sins of a whole lile ; and others again were actoat^ by 
the less honorable moUve of deriving ja plentiM subsistence, 
and perhaps a considerable profit^ from the alms which the 
ehanty of the faithful bestowed on the prisoneis.^*^ After 
the church had triunpfphed over ail her enemies, the ititeresi 
as well as vanity of the captives prompted them to magnify 
the merit of their respective sufferings. A convenient dis- 
tance of time or place gave an ample scope to the progress oi 
fiction ; and the frequent instanices which might be alle^d of 
holy martyrs, whose wounds had been instantly healed, whose 
strength had been renewed, and whose lost members had 
miraculously be^n restored, were extremely convenient for 
the purpose of liemoving evwy difficulty, and of silencing 
svery objection. The most extravagant legends, as they con* 
duced to the honor of the church, were applauded by the 
credulous multitude, countenanced by the power of the clergy, 
and attested by the suspicious evidence of eccLesiastioal his<* 

*•• Euseb de Martyr. Palestin. c 18. 

i*> Aqw^tin. Collat Carthagin. Dei, iil a 18, api Til]«m<Hit» Me 
ffioir#s ^ScidesiastiquflB, tooBL v. part L p. 4S. Ilie controversy with 
the Donatistfl, has reflected some, thou^ perhaps a partial, bght on 
the history of the African church. 

ifae provuice, a msn, sayli Evsebias, hardi and cmel, hauished the oodSm^ 
•019, some to Cypraa, otben to di&rent parts of Palestine, and ordered 
ihcm to be tormented by beinff set to the nost painihl labors. Fonr of 
(hen^ whtna he leqaired to ugnie their faith and refosed, were Uunt 
•tive. Koseb. de Mart Pslest c. ziii — G. Two of these were bishops ; a 
fifth, 6ilvaaaa> bishop of Qasa, was the last mar^ ; another, named Jeha, 
was blinded, but used to officiate, and recite ftom memory long pa ssag es 
sf Um saered writings.^M. 

Digitized by 



The vagu^ doscriptions of eiik And knpHsonmeni, oif pftio 
%nd toitiire, are so easily ^xi^gierated or aliened bythe pen- 
^1 of an artfol orator,* that we are natttmll j induced to in- 
quire into a fiict of a more distinct and itiabbom Mnd ; the 
onmber of penons who suffered death in consequence of the 
edicts pabwhed by Diocletian, bis> associates, and his- succes- 
foiB. The recent l^endaries record whole armies and cities, 
which were at once swept away by the undistingnishing mgQ 
of peneimtioQ. The more ancient writers ooiitent thei&selves 
with pouring out a liberal effusion of loose and- tragical intee- 
tives, without condescending to ascertain the precise number 
of those pemons who were permitted to seal with their blood 
(heir belief of the gospeL From ike history of Eusebius, it 
may, however, be oolleeted, that only nine bishops were pun- 
bhed with death ; and we are asaured, by his pwticular enu- 
meralioti of the martyrs of Pblesltne, tiiat ho more than 
nin^y-two Christians w^re entitled to uat honorable appdia* 
tion."* f As we are unacquainted with the degree of episw- 

*** Eusebius de Martyr. Palestin. e. 18. He closes his narration by 
assiariiig us tiiat ihese were the martyrdoms inflicted in Palestine, 
during the wMe oourse of the persecution. The 9th othapter of Iuh 
viiith book, -which relates to the province of Thebais in Egypt, may 
seem to contradict our moderate computation ; but it -^ill only lead 
OS to admire the artful management of the historian. Choodng for 
the seene of the most exquisite emelty the most remote and seques- 
tered country of the Roman emjpire, he relates that in Thebais from 
ten to one hundred persons had nrequently sufilired martyrdom in the 
same day. But when he proceeds to mention his own journey into 
Egypt, lus language insensibly becomes more cautious and moderate. 
Instead of a lu'ge, but definite number, he speaks of many Christians 
(«X«tov(), and most artfully selects two ambiguous words, {(vropiitrafittk 

* Perhaps there never was an inBtance of an anthor committing so 
deliberately Hbe fault which he reprobates so strongly in others. What is 
the derteroofl management of the more inartificitd nistorians of Christian- 
ii^, in ezaggersdng the numbers of the tnartyrs, compa r ed to the ^n&it 
address with which Gibbon here qoiedy dismisBes from the acooont sH tiie 
horrible and ezcmciating tortures which fell short of death t The leader 
may refer to the xiith chapter (book viii.) of Eusebius for the descriptioD 
and for the scenes of these tortures.— lif. 

t This calculation is made from the martjrrs, of whom Eusebius speaks 
by name ; but he recognises a much mater number. Thus the ninm and 
tenth chapters of his work are entided, " Of Antoninut, Zebinus, Gear- 
nuuMs, and other martsrrs } of Peter the monk.' of Asdepius the Mazoloii- 
ite, and other martyrs." [Are these vague contents of chapters very good 
anthori^r T— M.] Speaking of those who saflfered under Diodetian, he 
says, **1 will only rdate the death of one of these, from which the reader 
■ay iliviae what befell the rest" Hist. Eccl. viii. 6. [This relates otif Is 

Digitized by 


^D»324.] as tbs bomah xufibe. N 

aofMil zeal mid oounige vhidi' prevailed at that time, it Is not 
in our power to draw any Hmtnl infinenoes from tLa former 
of these &eta : bnl the hUAer maj serve to jusiiafy a very im- 
portant and probaUe ooodnsioD. Aooording to the distribv- 
tion of Bomaa proviaoes, Palestine mar be oonsidend as the 
aizteentk part of the Sasiehi enqare : - and sinoe there vera 
fioma gbvemois, who from a reid or aflfected ciemency had 
^ptsB&md.' their hands uastaioed with the blood of the fiitth* 
fiil,^** it is rea8(xiable to beUeve, that the country which .had 

and ^nfufimfTas,)* wkidL may. flignify ei&er -what^hs had seeii, or 
what he bad heard; either: the ezpectiitioa, or ^ executioii oC the 
punishment Having thus provided a secure evasion, he commits the 
equivocal passage to his readers and translators ; justly conceiving 
that ihdr piety #mild induce them to prefer the most fBLYotMe sense. 
!HMfe w«» p«rhap8 some idaliee in the r«mark of Theodortn M«to-> 
cfaita, that all who, liJce SuMbios, had bceo ooaTerBMit with th«t 
EgvptiaDs, delighted in an obscnre and intricate style. (See yale&i;ua 
aaioc ) 

- '•• Wh^ft Palestine was divided into three, the prefecture of the 
Eastoontamed forty-eight provinces. As the ancient distinetions of 
oatioDB were long linoe flboli4ied> the Rottaaa distribatedihe prov- 
inces acoairdin^ to a. ^eral proportion of ^ir extent tokd opuMoee, 
..^ Ut glqnari poasmt nullam ae innocentium poremiB8e». nam tsi 

the martyrs in toe royal hoasefaold. — M.] Dodwell had made, before Gib- 
boo, this calcalaUon and these objections ; but Rainart (Act Hart Pref 
p^ S7, e( tegr.) has answered hiu in a peremptory manner: Nobis constat 
Bnsebiam la hisloiii. |nfinitoa pfiwin^ mtatyvm admiwHHft qnmvU Nyei4 
paocoram nomina recensaerit ' Nee aUom Euaebii interpretem qaam 
ipsammet Easebinm prbferimas, qui (L iii. c. 33) ait sab Trajano plnrimosa 
ex fideHbna martyxii certamen sabiisse (1. v. anit) sab Antonino et Veto 
innnmerabiles prope martyres per aniversam orbem emtoisse afflrmat 
(L. vi c. 1.) Severom persecationem concitAsse refert, in qua per omnes 
abiqae loeorom Boclesias, ab- athletls pro pietate oertantibas, illustria oon* 
fiecta fherant Boartyria. Sb de Decii, sic de Vabriani, persecntionibas 
loquitur, qnflo an Dodwelli faveant conjectiouibas judicet squas lector. 
Even in tJje peraecations which Gibbon has represented as much more 
mild than that of Diocletian, the nmnber of m a iHy f s appears aiach greater 
than that to which he linuts the martyrs of the latter : and this x^omber is 
attested by incontestable moouments. I will quote bat one example. We 
find among the letters of 6t Cyprian one from Lncianns to C^erinns, 
vmtten iixwn the depth of a prison, in which Lncianns names seventeen 
«f his brethren dead, some in the c^uarries, some in the midst of tortnres, 
«Qme of starvation in prison. Jussi somas (he ];>rooeeds) secandom pne- 
oeptom imperamris, &ne et siti necari, et redaai sonma in doabas cellis, 
tta ut nos iuftcerent fame et siti et ignis vapore. — G. 

* Those who will take the trouble to consult. the text will see that if 
ibe word itnutivwras could be taken for the expectation of pumshment, 
iie passage could have no sense, and become absurd. — G. The many 
'founts) he speaks of as suffering toe^ether in one day; hOpofos xarii utm 
^tpav, 'tho mot seems to be, that religious persecution always raged is 
Cgypt with propter violence than elsewhere.f- M. 

Digitized by 



giren birth to .Christianity, produded at louA the sixteenth paH 
of the martyrs who su&ored death within the dominions of 
Gaierins and Maximin; the whole might consequently nnounl 
to about fifteen hundred, a number which, if it is equally 
divided between the ten years of the pereecution, will allow an 
annual consumption of one hundred «id fiftf martyis. . Allot* 
ting the same proportion to the provinces of Italjv Africa, and 
perhaps Spain, whsre,. at the . end of two or. three years, the 
rigor of the penal laws was either suspended or abohshed, the 
U) altitude of Christians in the Roman empire, on whom a ci^ 
ital pimishment was infficted by a judiiaal sentence^ wiU be 
mduced to somewhat less than two tiiousand persons. Since 
it cannot be doubted that the Christians were more numerous, 
and their enemies more exasperated, in the time of Diocletian, 
than they had ever been in any former persecution, thia prob- 
able land moderate computation may teach us to estimate the 
number of primitive saints and martyrs who sacrificed theit 
lives for the important purpose of introducing Ohristaanit^ into 
the world* 

We shall conclude this chapter by a melancholy truth, 
which obtrudes itself on the rekiotant mind ; that even ftdmit> 
ting, without he&dtation or inquiry, all that history has recorded, 
or devotion has feigned, on the subject of martyrdoms, it must 
still be acknowledged, that the Christians, in the course of 
their intestine dissensions, have inflicted far greater severiticR 
on each other, than they had experienced fix>m the zeal of 
infidels. During the ages of ignorance which followed the 
subversion of the Roman empire in the West, the bishops of 
«Lcj Imperial city extended their dotninion over the laily a& 
well as clergy of the Latin church. The fabric of super- 
stition which they had erected, and which might long havo 
defied the feeble eflforts of reason, was at length assaulted by 
a crowd of daring fanatics, who from the twelfth to the six- 
teenth century assumed the popular character of reformers. 
The church of Rome defended by violence the empire which 
she had acquired by fraud ; a system of peace and benoro-' 
lence was soon disgraced by proscriptions, war, massacres, 
and the institution of the holy office. And as the refomaera 
wsra animated by the love of civil as well as of religious 
f/eeJom, the Catholic princes connected their own interest 

ipse aadiri aliqnoe gloriantes, quia administralio gua, in hic ptirte 
raarit incruenta. Lactant Inatituc. Divin. v. 11. 

Digitized by 


A»D.324.] mr tub mcm^jsl uh 

with that of the eleigy, and enforced hy fire and the sword 
the tenon of Bpiritual censures. In the Netherlands nlone, 
more than one hundred thousand of the subjects of Charles V. 
are sud to have suffered by the hand of the executioner; 
and this extraordinarj number is attested bj Grotius,'** a man 
of genius and learning, who preserved his moderation amidst 
tiie fiirp of coAtendiag seeta, and who composed theaanids of 
hb mni\ age and cewifcry, at a tine when the inreation of 
printing had facilitated the meanaof intelligeaoe, and inoreased 
the danger of detection. If we are obliged to submit our 
belief to the aothority of Grotins, it must 1m aUowed^' that the 
numboF of Ptfotastiints^ who were executed in a single proT* 
inco and a single feign, far exceeded that of the primitiTe 
nmrtyrs in the epaoe of three oentoriee, and of the Boman 
empire. But if the impnobabiiitj ol the foct itself should 
prevail over the weight of evidoee; if Gtotius should be 
convicted of exaggemttng the merit Mid sufferings of the Re- 
formen;^'* we.^dl be naturally kd to inquire what confi- 
denoe can be pkoed in the doubtful and imp^ect moBuments 
of ancient oradnlity ; ^tibat degree of credit can be assignkl to 
a oomrtly bishop, and a passioBatedeclaimer,* who, under the 
protection of <>Mistaiitipe, enjoyed the exclusive privilege of 
recording the persecutions iafltcted on the Chriiitians by the 
vanquished rivals or disregarded predecessors of their gracious 

■ -.♦^■.■■,..i 1 ■ .1 I ■ .■■■. -.. .. ■ ii... 

>•• Orot AnaaL de Rebos Belgieift, L i. p. 13, edit foi 
^** Fra Paola (Istoria del ConciUo Trideatioo, L iii) rednoes the 
number of the Bel^ mtrtyrs to (0,000. In leammg and moderation 
Fra Paola was not inferior to Grotius. The privity of time gives some 
advantage to the evidence of th6 former, -wnich He loses, on the other 
hand, by the distance of Venioe from the Netherlands. 

* Easebias and the author of the Treatise de Mortibas Pc rsecatoraixL 
It is deeply to be regretted that the history of this period rests so mach on 
the loose and, it nmst be admitted, by no meaiiB ■cropokras jpLthoriQr of 
jiasebins. Ecdesiastiqi] histoiy is a solemn and melancboly iesson that 
die best, even the most sacred, caase will eventually sofrer lif the loaal 

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, 'X CHAPTER Xfll. 

dahoh. of ooNfrrANTnropix.-— POunoAi. srsnnc et 

VLIHEw-«9HV PAtAOB. — TBS FnrA]rC«& 

The unfortunate lAchiius was the last rivsl who opposed 
die grealiiess, and the last captive who adorned the tauni]^^ 
of OoQstantine. After a tnmquH and prosperous reign, the 
conqtierer bequeathed to^ his fimily the nmmtanee of the 
Roman empire; a new capital, a new policy, and a new 
religion ; and the innovations whi<^ be estabhdied have been 
embraoed and consecrated : by suooeeding generations. The 
age of the great Constantine and his sons is liled wftii import 
taat ev^its ; but the historian must be opptOBsed bj their 
number and variety, unless he diligently sepanates firom etuck 
odier the scenes which are ooonected only^ by ih» ofdsr of 
time. He will describe the political institutions > tiut gave 
strength and stability to the emphre, belbre he proceeds to 
relate th» wars and rerolntions. which hastened its dedine. 
He will adopt the division unknown to the andents of civil 
and ecdesiastacal affiiirs : the victory of the Christians, and 
their intestine discord, will supply copious and <£stinet materials 
both for edification and for scandal.' 

After the defeat and abdication of Licihius, his victorious 
rival proceeded to lay thci foundations of a city desitined to 
reign m future times, the n^istress of the East, and to survive 
the empire and religion of Ck)n8tantiDe. The motives, whether 
of pride or of policy, which first induced Diocletian to with- 
draw himself fipm the ancient seat of government, had ac" 
quired additional weight by the example of his successors, 
and the habits of forty years. Rome was insensibly con- 
founded with the dependent kingdoms which had once ae» 
knowledged her supremacy ; and the country of the Caesars 
was viewed with cold indifference by a martial prince, bom in 
the neighborhoibd of the Danube, educated in the courts and 
armies of Asia, and invested with the purple by the legions of 
Britain. The Italians, who had received Constantine as thdr 
deliverer, subroissivelv oheved the ediotA whit^h he sometimes 

Digitized by 


k^ D« 824.] OF THB BOHdUi 

eoodeooeAded to address to the s^ate and people of Rome ; 
but they were seldom honoced with ihe presenee of their new 
sovereign. Daring the T%or of his age, Ckmstaadne, aooord- 
ing to the various exigencies of peace and war, moved with 
dow dignity, or with adiiie diligence, along the frontiers of his 
extensive dominions; and was always prepared, to take the 
ield either :^;ainst a.fiiteipi or a dcnnestio enemy. Bat as ho 
giiadiiaUy rewdied themanmit oi prosperity and the decline of 
h&i he began to medyitate the deimi of .fixing in a more per^ 
manent station the strength as well as majesty of the throne. 
In: the choice (ji an t advantageooa situation, h» preferred th« 
confides of Emiope and Asia; ta enrb with a powerful arm 
Uie barbarians who dwelt between the Danube and the Tanais ; 
to watch with an eye of jealousy i the conduct of the Persian 
monandi, who indignantly auppcnted the yoke of an ignoaain«- 
ious treaty. . With these views, Diodetiaa had ade^ed and 
embellished ther reddenoo of Niooraadia:; bat the memory of 
IHodfltian was Jhb% dl>hoffred by the protector of the church : 
and Constantine was not insensible to the ambition, of founding 
a city which might perpeituate the glory of his own name^ 
During thia late operations of the war agau^ lieinius, he had 
8«ffi<uent opportunity to contemplate,! both as a soldier and as 
a statesman^ the incomparable position of Byzantium ; and to 
observe how strongly it was guarded by nature, against a hos- 
tile attack, whilst it was accessible on every »de to the benefit«i 
of commeiDcial mtereouiBe. Many ages helbie Gmistantine, one 
^ the most Judidous historians of anti<|uity^ had described 
the advantc^es of a situation, from whence a feel^e colony of 
Greeks derived Ihe command- of the sea, and the honors of a 
Nourishing and independent republic." * 

K we survey Byzantium in the extent which it acquired with 
Vhe august name of Constantinople, the figure of the Imperial 

* Polybius, L iv. p. 428, edit. Casaubon. He observes that ihe 
peace of the Byzantines was frequentlv disturbed, and the extent of 
their territory contracted, by the inroaos of the wild Thradans. 

■ The navigator Byzas, who was styled the son of Neptune, found- 
id the city 656 years before the Christian aera. His followers were 
drawn from Argos and Megara. Byzantium was afterwards rebuilt 
and fortified by the Spartan general Pausanias. See Scaliger, Am- 
madvers. ad Euseb. p. 81. Ducange, ConstantinopoHs, L i . part i cap 
15, 16. With regard to the wars of the Byzantines against Philip 
the Gaulsy and the kings of Bithynia, we should trust none but tM 
HDcient writers who lived before the greatness of the Trnperfel diy 
had exdted a spirit of flattery and fictioa 

Digitized by 



citjr may be represented under tLat of aa nneqwil truaigk 
The lObtnae point, which advances toTrorda the east and the 
shores of Asia, meets and repels the waves of the Thraciaa 
Bosphorus. The northern side of the city is boonded by the 
harbor; and the southern ia washed by the Fropontis, or 8ea 
of Marmara. The . basis . of. the triangle is opposed to the 
west) and terminates the oontineiit. of Europe. But tlie adn^ 
nible form and division of the cireaiDJaoent land and water 
cannot^ without a nM>re ample explanation, be clearly, or sufl^ 
cien'tLy understood. 

The winding channel thixN^h which the waters of the 
Euxine flow with a rapid* and incessant cousse towards the 
Mediterranean, received the appellation of Bosf^oma, a name 
not less celebrated in the history, than in the &Ue8, of an* 
tiquity,* A crowd of temples and of votive akan, pcoiindy 
scattered along its steep and woody banks, attested ib» n&^l* 
fiilness, the terrors, and the devotion of .the Gfedan naviga* 
tors, who, afbr the example of the Angonauis, explored tiie 
dangers of the inhospitable Euxine. On these banks tradition 
long preserved the memory of the palace of Phineus, infested 
by the obscene harfues ** and of tho sylvan re^ of Anrfrcos, 
who defied the son of Leda to the combat of the eestus.* The 
straits of the Bosphorus are terminated by the Oyanean rocka, 
which, according to. the deserip^n of liie po^ had once 
floated on the. £30 of the waters ; and were destined by the 
gods to protect the entranoa of the Euxine agunst the eye of 
pro&ne curiosit^^.' From the Oyanean rocks to the point and 

" — > ■ -■ ** . ■ ■ ■ ■ - ' T' " ■ — ■■■■■■ ^ 

* The BoAphorua has been very, minutely described by DioDysiiu 
of Byzantium, who lived in the time of Domitian, (Hudson, Geograph 
Minor,, torn, iil,) and by Gilles or Gyllius, a French traveller of the 
XVIth century. Tournefort (Lettre XV.) seems to have used his own 
eyee, and the learning of Gyllius. [Add Yon Hammer, Gonstantino- 
polis und der Bosphoros, 8vo. — ^M.] 

* There are very few conjectures so happy as tluit of Le Clerc, 
(BibliotShque Universelle, torn. i. p. 148,) who supposes that the har- 
pies were only locusts. The Syriac or Phoenician name of those insects, 
thei^ noisy flight, the stench and devastation which they occasion, and 
the north wind which drives them into the sea, all c(mtribute to form 
the striking resemblance. 

* The residence of Amycus was in Asia, between the old and the 
new castles, at a place called Laurus Insana. That of Phineus wai 
ia Europe, near the village of Mauromole and the Black Sea. See 
Gyllius de Bosph. L iL c. 28. Tournefort^ Lettre XV. 

* The deception was occasioned by several pointed rocks, alternately 
toTored and abandoner'by thewa\es. At present there are two small 

Digitized by 


At p. 324.] OP THS EOMAV BMFaS. 9$ 

kfurbor of Bja^^tium, the windi&g^ fengtb of the Bosplionrii 
eitends abo^t sixteea nales,^ aod its most ordiDMy breadth 
msy be comj^ited at about ouenule and a half. The netd 
ea»tles of.£ur<>pe and Asia are construcled, oa either conli* 
aent, upoa the foundations of two celebrated templea, <^ Sen^ 
pis and of Jupiter Urius. The old east&es, a work of the 
Gheek imipeKora^ oommand the narrowest part of the chaime\ 
m a place where the opposite banks adviance within five hun- 
drod paoea of each other. These fortresses were destroyed 
and strengthened by Mahomet the Second, when he meditated 
ihe siege of Oonttantinople :' but the Turiush conqueror was 
most probably ignorai^ that near two tiioutond years before 
his reign, Darius had chosen the same situation to connect the 
two contiBents by a bridge of boats.* At a small distance 
from the. cid csistles we discover the little town of Chiysc^Kdis, 
or Scutari, which may almost be considered as the Asiatic 
suburb, of Constantinof^le* The Boephorus, as it begins to 
open into the Pf6poiitis^ passes between Byzantium and Ohal- 
cedon. The latter of those cities was built by the Gh^ks, 
a few years before the fonner ; and the blindness of its found- 
ers, who overlooked the superior advantages of the opposite 
coast, haa been sti^atiied by a proverbial ex^yression of con- 
tempt** . 

Ihe harbor of Oonstantinopk, which -may be considered as 
an arm of the Bcsphorus, obtainedf in a very remote period, 
the denominaition of the Golden Horn. The curve which it 

JaUmda^ one towards ^ther shore ; that of Europe is distingidBhed by 
the column of Pompey. 

"* The ancients computed one hundred and twenty stadia, or fifteen 
Roman miles. They measured only from the new castles^ but they 
carried the straits as far as the town of Chalcedon. 

^ Ducas. Hist c 84. Leanclavius Hist Turcica Mussnlmanica, L xv. 
p. 577. Under the Greek empire these eastles were used as state 
prisons, uiider the tremendous name, of Lethe, or towers of obUvion. 

' Darius engraved in Greek and Assyrian letters, on two marble 
colunms, the names of his subject nations, and the amazing numbers of 
his land and sea forces. The Byzantines afterwards transported these 
columns into the city, and used them for the altars of tiieir tutelar 
deities. Herodotus, L iv. c. 87. 

*® Namque arctissimo inter Europam Asiamque divortio Byzantium 
m ezirema £urop& posuere Greci, quibus, Pythium Apollinem consu- 
kntibus ubi conder^ urbem, redditum (M'aciilum est, quasrerent sedem 
Mcorum terris adversam. ISA ambage Chalcedonii rndStrabantur, 
qnod priores illuc advecti, prasvisi locorum utilitate pejora legisMot 
TsA AnnaL xil 63 

Digitized by 


§• fSB'DftOlniS AND FAU. [A. D.92«,i 

deaciibcs might bo compared <x> the faoni of«a stag, or m H 
should seem, with more piopiietj, to that of ail' ox." The 
epithet of golden was expressiye of the riches which every 
wind wafted ftom the most distant countries intoihe secaiie 
and capacious port of Constantinople. The River Lycos, 
formed by the conflux of two little streams, pours into the 
harbor a perpetual supply of fresh water, which serves to 
cleanse the bottom, and to invite the periodical shoi^ of Mi 
to seek their retreat in that convenient recess. As the ncissi- 
tndes of tides are scarcely felt in those seas^ the constant depth 
of the harbor allows goods to be landed on the quays without 
the assistance of boats ; and it has been obeerted, that in many 
places the largest vessdb may rest thefr prows against the 
houses, while their stems are fk>ating in the water.^' From 
the mouth of the Lycus to that of the harbor, this arm of the 
Bosphorus is more tiian seven miles in length. The ^itrancs 
is about five hundred yards broad, and a strong chain could 
be ocdoeoonally drawn across it, to guard the port and dly 
from the attack of a hostile navy.^* 

Between the Bosphorus and the Hellespont) the shores of 
Europe and Asia, receding on either side, enclose the sea of 
Marmara, whidi was known to the ancients by <h» denomina* 
tion of Propontis. The navigation from the issue of the Bos- 
phorus to the entrance of the Hellespont is about one hun<ked 
and tw^ity miles. Those who et^r their westwaid course 
through the middle of the Propontis, may at ones descry the 
high lands of Thrace and Bithynia, and never lose sight of 
^le lofty summit of Mount Olympus, covered with eternal 
snows." They leave on the left a deep gulf, at the bottom 

" Strabo, L vil p. 492, [edit CasaubJ Most of the antlers are now 
broken off; or, to speak leas figuratively, most of the recesses of the 
harbor are filled up. See GilL de Bosphoro Thracio, 1. i c 5. 

^* Procopius de ^dificiis, L i c. 5. His description is confirmed 
by modem travellers. See Thevenot, part I L i c 15. Toumefort, 
Lefctre XII. Niebtihr, Voyage d'AraHe, p. 22. 

'• See Dncange, 0. P. L l part i. c 16, and his Observations snr 
Villehardonin, p. 289. The chain was drawn from the Acropolis near 
the modern Kiosk, to the tower of Galata ; and was supported at con- 
venient distances by large wooden piles. 

** Thevenot (Voyages au Levant, part i. L i. c. 14) contracts the 
measure t<^125 smaS Greek miles. Belon (Observations, t ii. c 1.) 
gives a go^ description of the Propontis, but contents himself with 
uie vague expression of one day and one night's saiL When Sandys 
{Travels, p. 21) talks of 150 furlongs ir length, as well as breadtk. w^ . 

Digitized by 


A D.324.] OF Jdz-TLomkisf iMfm. . M 

of whkh l&eoiiiedia was aesi^ tke Impeiial residenoe of Dm^ 
detian; and they pass the small i^ands of Cyzieus and Pro- 
coBneooB hefoee they oast anchor at OallSpoli ; where the sea, 
which separates Am iirom Eaiope^ is a^n contracted into • 
narrow duomeL 

Th» geM|raphem> who, with the most skilful aoenraej, have 
snrteyed l£e form and extent of the Hellespont, assign about 
sixty miiea for the wmding ooorae, and about three miles for 
the ordinary breadth of those celebrated straits" But the 
nsmrowest part of the channel is found to the northward of the 
oid Turkish castles betwiden the dties of Sestus and Al^dus. 
It was here. that the adventinous Leander bmved the passage 
of the flood for the possession of his mistress?* It was here 
likewise, in a place where the (^stance between the opposite 
banks cannot exceed five hundred pnoes, that Xerxes imposed 
a stupendous bridge of boats, for the purpose of transporting 
into Eurc^ a hundred and seventy myriads of barbarians.^* 
A sea eoBtracted within such narrow hmiti may seem but ill 
to deserve the singular epithet of hroady which Homer, as 

can only suppose some mistake of the press in the teort of that jiMir 
2iou8 traveller. 

'* See an admirable dissertation of M. d*Anville upon the Helles* 
poDt or Dardanelles, in the MSmoires de TAcademie des InscriptioDSk 
torn, xxviil p. 818 — 846. Yet even that ingenious geographer is too 
food of suppoung new, and perhaps imaginary mfaturet, for the pur» 
pose of rendering ancient writers as accurate as himself. The stadia 
employed by I&odotus in the description of the Euzine, the Bos* 
phorus, duL, jjL iv. c 85,) must undoubtedly be all of the same species ; 
out it seems impossible to reconcile them either with truth or with 
each other. 

^* The oblique distance between Sestus and Abvdos was thirty 
stadia. The improbable tale of Hero and Leander is exposed by M. 
Mahndel, bat is defended on the authority of poets and medals by M. 
4e la Kauze. See the Academie des Inscriptions, tom. vil Hist p. *Ji. 
ifem. p. 240.» 

'^ See the seventh book of Herodotus, who has erected an elegit 
trophy to his own fame and to that of his country. The review 
appears to have been made with tolerable accuracy; but the vanity, 
first of the Persians, and afterwards of the Greeks, was interested to 
magnify the armament and the victory. I should much doubt whether 
the invaders have ever outnumbered the men of any country which 
they attacked 

* The practicsl illastration of the poasihility of Leaader's feat by Loi4 
B^nm and other English swrnnaen is tt» well known to need paMteshv 

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ft TBM fiSCUKS AND FAU [A. D. 924 

wdl as Orpheus, has freqiM&tly bestowed oi tho iJMilespMit.* 
But our ideas of greatiieas are of a relative nataoe : the trav* 
eller, and especially the poet, who sailed along the Hdlespont, 
who pursued the windings of the stneam, and coDtemplated the 
rural scenery, which appeared on every side to terimaate the 
pro(!«>ect, insensibly lost the remembranee <^ the sea ; and his 
fancy painted those celebrated straits, with all the attribntea 
of a, mighty river flowing with a swift carient, in the inidst of 
a woody and inland country, and at length, through a wide 
month, discharging itself into the .^gean or Aro^telaga^* 
Ancient Troy," seated on an eininenee at the foot of Mount 
Ida, overlooked the mouth of the Hellespont, which scarcely 
received, an accession of waters fh»n the tdbute of those 
immortal rivulets the Simois and. Soamimder. The Grecian 
camp had stretched, twelve mile^ al(Hig. the shore from the 
Sigsaan to the Ehaetean promontory ; and the flanks of the 
army were guarded by the bravest chiefs who fought under 
the banners of Agamemnon. The first of those promontories 
was occupied by Achilles with his invincible myrmidons, and 

*• See "Wood's Observations on Homer, p. 820. I have, with pleas- 
ure, selected this remark from an author who in general seems to have 
disappointed the expectation of the public as a critic, and still more as 
a traveller. He had visited the banks of the Hellespcxit; and had 
read Strabo ; he ought to have consulted the Roman itineraries. How 
was it possible for him to confound Ilium and Alexandria Troas, (0}y . 
servations, p. 840, 841,) two cities which were sixteen mUes distant 
from each other f f 

" Demetrius of Scepsis wrote sixty books on thirty lines of Homer's 
cAtal<^ue. The XIIIlii Book of Strabo b sufficient for our curiosity. 

* Oibbon does not allow greater width between the two searest points of 
the sborea of the Hellespont ihaa between those of the BoBphorns; yet all 
the ancient writers 8i>eak of the Hellespontic strait a» broader than the 
other: they agree in giving it seven stada in its narrowest width, (Herod, 
in Melp. c. 85. Polym. c. 34. Strabo, p. 591. Plin. iv. c. 12,) which make 
875 paces. It is singular that Gibbon, who in the fifteenth note of this chap- 
ter reproaches d'Anville with being fond of supposing new and perhaps 
imaginary measures, has here adopted the pecnUar measarement which 
d'Anville has assigned to the ■Ladinm. This grelit geographer believea thai 
the ancients had a stadium of fifty-one teises, and it is mat which be applies 
to the walls of Babylon. Now, seven of these stadia are equal to abom 
500 paces, 7 stadia =21 42 feet; 500 paces = 2135 feet 5 inches. — G. See 
Rennell, Geog. of Herod, p. 121. Add Ukert, Greographie dcr Griechen und 
Aomer, v. i. p. 2, 71. — M. 

t Compare Walpole's Memoirs on Turkey, v. i. p. 101. Dr. Clarke 
adopted Mr. Walp^de's interpretation of rX&rvs 'EXA^vrovror, the salt Hel- 
leaiKmt But the old interpretatioo is more graphic and Homeric. Clarke'^ 
Travels, a 70.— M. • 

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4.D. 834.] Ot THE ROMAIC BtCPIRX. #S 

the Guiltless AjaK pitched his tents on the ol^er. After Ajax 
had fallen a sacrifice to his disappointed pride, and to the in* 
gratitade of the Greeks, his sepulchre was erected on the 
ground Trhere he had defended the naTy against the rage of 
love and of Hector ; and the citixens of me rising town of 
Rhietienm celebrated his memory with divine honors.'* Befoie 
Constantino gave a just preference to the situation of Bj2an- 
timn, he had conceived the design of erecting the seat of em* 
pire on this celebrated spot, from whence the Romans derived 
their iabnlons origin. The extensive plain which lies below 
ancient Troy, towards the Rhsetean promontory and the tomb 
of Ajax, was first chosen for his new capital ; and though the 
undertaking was soon relinquished the stately remains of un- 
finished walls and towers attracted the notice of all who sailed 
through the straits of the Hellespont.'^ 

We are at present qusdifed to view the advantageous posi- 
tion of Constantinople ; which appears to have been formed 
by nature for the centre and capital of a great monarchy. 
Situated in the forty-first degree of latitude, the Imperial city 
commanded, fix>m her seven hills," the opposite shores of 
Europe and Asia ; the climate was healthy and temperate, 
the soil fertile, the harbor secure and capacious ; and the ap- 
proach on the side of the continent was of small extent and 
easy . defence. The Bosphoriis and the Hellesponi may be 
considered as the two gates of Constantino|de ; and the prince 
who possessed those important passages could always shut 
them against a naval enemy, and open them to the fleets of 
commerce. The preservation of the eastern provinces may, 
in some degree, be ascribed to the policy of Constantine, as 
the barbarians of the Euxine, who in the preceding age had 

'• Strabo, L xiil p. 695, [890, edit. Casaub.] The disposition of the 
ships, which were drawn upon dry land, and the posts of Ajax and 
Achill^y are very clearly described by Homer. . §ee Iliad, iz. 220. 

*\ Zosiql L ii. [c. 80,] -p. 106. Sozomen, L ii c 8. Theophanes, ft. 18, 
Nicephorus Callistua^ L vil p. 48. Zooaraa, torn. IL L xiii p. 6. Zosimufl 
places the new city between Ilium and Alexandria, but ibis apparent 
difference may he reconciled by the large extent of its circnmference. 
Before the foundation of Con8taiitino|>le, Thessalonica is mentioned by 
CedrenuB, (p. 283,) and Sardica by Zooaras, as the intended caf)itaL 
They both suppose with very little probability, that the emperor, if be 
bad not been prevented by a prodigy, would have repeated the mis- 
taJi^ of the blind Chalcedonians. 

3^ Pocock's Description of the East, vol. il part ii. p. 127. His plan 
ct tiM seven biUs is clear and accurate. That traveller is seldom ao 

Digitized by 


M TUft raCUHS AND VAbI* [A.D.t2i 

poured their armaiiidtits into the heart of the MeditemiMaii, 
soon desisted from the eseroiBe of piracy, and deapaiied of 
foroDg this insurmountable barrier. When the gates of the 
Hellespont and Bosphoms were shut^ the capital- still enjoyed 
within their spacious endosare every production which: could 
supply the wantfl, or gratify the luxury, of its numerous inhab- 
itants. The sea-coasts of Thrace and Bitiiynia, which lan- 
giBsh under the weight of Turkish oppression, still exhibit a 
rich prospect ci vineyards, of gardens, and of plentiful har- 
vests ; and the Fropontis has ever been renowned for an inex- 
haustible store of the most ex(|uisite fish, that are taken in 
their stated seasons, without skill, and almost without labor.** 
But when the passages of the straits were thrown open for 
trade, they alternately admitted the natmral and ardfidal ridies 
of the north and south, of the Euxine, and of the Mediterra- 
nean. Whatever rude commodities were collected in the 
forests of Germany and Scythia, and far as the sources of the 
Tanais and the Borysthenes; whatsoever was manufiictured 
by the skill of Europe or Asia ; the corn of Egypt, and the 
gems and spices of the ferthest India, wera brought by the 
vatying wmds into the pott of C!onstantinople, which for many 
ages attracted' the oommeroe of the aadent world.'* 

The prospect of beauty, of safety, and of wealth, united in 
a single spot, was sufficient to justify the choice of Constant 
tine. But as some decent mixture of prodigy and &ble has, 
in eveiy age, been supposed to reflect a becoming majesty on 
the origin of great cities,'* the emperor was desirous of aserib* 
ing his resolution, not so much to the uncertain counsels of 
human policy, as to the infallible and eternal decs^ees of divine 
wisdom. In one of his laws he has been careful to instruct 
posterity, that in obedience to the commands of. God, he laid 
the everlasting foundations of Constantinople:** and though 

** See Belon, Ohseryations, e. 72 — 76. Among a variety of differ 
eni species, the Pelamides, a sort of Thiumies, were the most cele- 
brated. We may learn from Polybius, Strabo, and Tacitus, that the 
profits of the fishery constitated the pineipal revenue of Byifiantimn. 

^* See the eloquent description of iBusbequius, epistoL i p. 64w Est 
in Europa; habet in conspcSctu Asiam, Egypfcnm, Africamque a dex- 
tra: quffi tametsi contiguie non sunt, maris tamen navigandiqne 
oommoditate veluti junguntur. A sinistra vero Pontus est Euzi- 
mn, Ac 

'* Datur hffic venia antiquitati, ut miscendo humana divinis, primor- 
dia urbium augustiora fiiciai T. Liv. in procem. 

'* He says in one of his laws, pro commodftate urhis quam setenw 
nomine, fubente Deo, donavimus. God. Theodos. L xiii. tit. v. leg. 7. 

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he has not oo»d66ce&ded to rdate i» what manner the oelwtia] 
ioepiration was oommuiucaited to his miiid, the defect of hk 
modest silence has been liberally stippdied by the ingenuitj 
of sncoeeding writers; who describe the noetiusial vision 
which appeared to the fancy of Constantine, aa he bI^ within 
the walls of Byzantium. The tutelar genius of the etiy, a 
venerable matron »nking under the weight of years and 
infirmities, was suddenly transformed into a Uocmiing maid, 
whom his own hands adorned with all the ^fmbols of Imperial 
greatness.^ The monarch awc^e, interpreted 1^ anspiiaous 
omen, and obeyed, without hesitation, the will of Heaven. 
The day which gave birth to a cHy or col^ay wm celebrated 
by the Romans with such ceremonies as had be^ ordained 
by a generous superstition ; '* and though Constantine might 
omit some rites which savored too stn^gly of tJaeir Pagan 
origin, yet he was anxious to leave a deep impression of hope 
and respect on the minds of the spectators. Oa foot, with- a 
iance in his hand, the emperor hin^elf led the sol^an process 
sion; and directed the line, which was traodd as the boundary 
of the destined capital: till the growing drcumferetaoe was 
observed with astonishment by the assistants, who, at length, 
ventured to observe, that he had already exceeded' the most 
ample measure of a great city. ^^ I shall still advance," replied 
Constantine, ^^ till Hs, the invisible guide who marches before 
me, thinks proper to stop." '* Without presimiing to investi- 
gate the nature or motives of this extraordinary conductor, we 
shall content ourselves with the more humble task of describing 
the extent and limits of Constantinople.'** 

'^ The Greeks, Theophanes, Cedrenos, and the auth<Hr of the Alexan- 
drian Chronicle, confine themselves to vague and general egressions. 

For a more particular account of the vision, we are obliged to have 
recourse to such Latin writers as William of Malxnesbury. See Bu- 
cange, C. P. L L p. 24, 25. 

'^ See PIvLtarch in RomuL torn. I p. 49, edit Bryan. Among other 
ceremonies, a large hole, which haa been dug for that purpose, waa 
filled up with handfiils of earth, which each of the settlers brought 
from the place oi his Nrth, and thus adopted his new country. 

" Philostorgius, L u. c. 9. ^ This incident, though borrowed from a 
suspected writer, is characteristic and probable. 

* See in the Memoires de rAcademie, torn, xxxv p. 747— 76S, f 
dissertation c^ M. d*AnviUe on the extent of Constantinople^' Hi 
takes the plan inserted in the Imperium Orientale of Banduri as ihi 
most complete ; but, by a series of very nice observations, he redooet 
the extravagant proportion of the scale, and instead of 9500, deteii- 
mines the ciraunference of the city as consisting of about 78CO Freud 

Digitized by 



ia the actval state of the city, the palace %nd gardens cif 
the Seraglio occupy the eastern promontory, the first of the 
seren bills, and cover about one hnndred and fifty acres of 
our own measure. The seat of Turkish jealousy and deispot- 
iam is erected on the foundations of a Grecian republic ; but 
it may be supposed that the Byzantines were tempted by the 
conveniency of the harbor to extend their habitations on that 
side beyond the modem limits of tlie Seraglio. The new 
walls of Gonstantine stretched from the port to the Propontis 
across the enlarged breadth of the triuugle, at the distance of 
fifteen stadia f^m the ancient fortification ; and with the city 
of Byzantium they enclosed five of the seven hills, which, to 
the eyes of those who approach Constantinople, appear to 
rise above each other in beautiful order.** About a century 
after the death of the founder, the new buildings, extending 
on one side up the harbor, and on the other along the Propon- 
tis, already covered the narrow ridge of the sixth, and the 
broad summit of the seventh hill. The necessity of protect- 
ing those suburbs from the incessant inroads of the barbarians 
engaged the younger Theodosius to surround his capital with 
an adequate and permanent enclosure of walls.** From the 
eastern promontory to the golden gate, the extreme length of 
Constantinople was about ttiree Roman miles ; " the circum* 
ference measured between ten and eleven; and the surface 
might be computed as equal to about two thousand English 
acres. It is impossible to justify the vain and credulous exag- 
gerations of modem travellers, who have sometimes stretchec 
the limits of Constantinople over the adjacent villages of the 
European, and even of the Asiatic coast.** But the suburbs 

•* Codinus, Antiquitai Const, p. 12. He assigns the church of St 
Anthony as Uie boundary on the side of the harbor. It ia mentioned 
in Ducange, L iv. c. 6 ; but I have tried, without success, to discover 
the exact place where it was situated. 

■* The new wall of Theodosius was constructed in the year 418. 
In 447 it was thrown down by an earthquake, and rebuilt in three 
months by the diligence of the prsefect Cyrus. The subiu*b of the 
BlachemaB was first taken into the city m the reign of Heradius 
Ducange, Const L i. c 10, 11. 

** The measurement is expressed in the Notitia by 14,0*75 feet It 
m reasonable to suppose that these were Greek feet, the proportion of 
which has been ingeniously determined by M. d'AnviUe. He com- 
pares the 180 feet with 78 Hashemite cubits, which in diflTerent writeri 
are assigned for the heights of St Sophia. Each of these cubits was 
equal to 27 French inches. 

•* The accurate Thevenot (1. : c. 15) walked in one hour and three 
quarters roimd two of the sides of the triangle, from the Kiosk of th« 

Digitized by 


4. D. 324. J OF THB ROHAN EMriOB. 99 

of Peni and Galata, though situate beyond the harbor, inAf 
deserve to be considered as a part of the city ; '* and tM» act 
dition may perhaps authorize the measure of a Byzantine his- 
torian, who assigns sixteen Greek (about fourteen Roman) miles 
for the circumference of his native city.'* Such au extent may 
not seem unworthy of an Imperial residence. Yet Gonstan* 
tinople must yield to Babylon and Thebes," to ancient Rome, 
to London, and even to Paris.'* 

The master of the Roman world, who aspired to erect an 
eternal monument of the glories of his reign, xuld employ 
in the prosecution of that great work, the wealth, the labor, 
and all that yet remained of the genius of obedient millions. 
Some estimate may be formed of the expense bestowed with 
Imperial liberality on the foundation of Constantinople, by the 
allowance of about two millions five hundred thousand pounds 
for the construction of the walls, the porticos, and the aque- 
ducts.** The forests that overshadowed the shc»res of the 
Buxine, and the celebrated quarries of white marUe in the 
little island of Proconnesua, supplied an inexhaustible stcksk of 
materials, ready to be conveyed, by th«> convenience of a 

Seraglio to the seven towerp. D'Anville examines with care, and 
receives with confideDce, this decisive testimony, which gives a cir- 
cumference of ten or twelve miles. Tlie extravagant computation of 
Toumefort (Lettre XI.) of I3iirty-|bur or thirty miles, without includ* 
ing Scutari, is a* strange departure from his usilbI charaotcr. 

^* The sycsB, or fig-trees, formed the thirteenth region, and were 
very niuch erohelUshed by Justinian. It has' since borne the names 
of rera and Qalata. The etymology of the former is obvious ; that 
of the latter is unknown. See Bucange, Const LI c. 22, and Gylli- 
us de Byzant L iv. c. 10. 

** One hundred and eleven stadia, which may be translated into 
' modem Greek miles each of seven stadia, or 660, sometimes only 600, 
P'rench toises. See D'Anville, Mesures Itineraires, p. 63. 

*'' When the ancient texts, which describe the size of Babylon and 
lliebes, «re settled, the exaggerations reduced, and the measures 
ascertained, we find that those famous cities filled the great but not 
incredible drcumference of about twenty-five or thirty miles. Com- 
^e D'Anville, Mem. de FAcademie, torn. xxviiL p. 235, with his 
Description de TEgypte, p. 201, 202. 

** If we divide Constantinople and Paris into equal squares of 50 
French toi$e$f the former contains 850, and the latter 1160, of those 

" Six hundred centenaries, or sixty thousand pounds' weight of 
gold. This sum is taken from Codinus, Antiquit Const p. 11 ; hut 
unless that contemptible author had derived his mformalion from 
9oiue purer soiu-ces, >ie would probably have been nnaoqiiaii ted witk 
HI obsolete a mode of reckoning. • 

^OL. TI. E 

Digitized by 


06 mS DECLINE AND FAUi [A«^D. 32%. 

diort watei carnage, to the hai^r of Byzantium/* A uMlSb' 
iude of laborers and artificers urged the conclusion of the 
work with incessant toil : but the impatience of Gonstantine 
soon discovered, that, in the decline of the arts, the skill as 
well as numbers of his architects bore a very unequal propor- 
tion to the greatness of 'his designs. The magistrates of the 
most distant provinces were therefore directed to institute 
schools, to appoint professors, and by the hopes .of rewards 
and privil^es, to engage in the study and practice of archi- 
tecture a sufficient number of ingenious youths, who had 
received a liberal education/^ The buildings of the new city 
were executed by such artificers as the reign of Gonstantine 
could afford ; but they were decorated by the hands of the 
most celebrated masters of the age of Pericles and Alexander. 
To revive the genius of Phidias and Lysippus, surpassed 
indeed the power of a Roman emperor ; but the immortal 
productions which ^they had bequeathed to posterity were 
exposed without defence to the rapacious vanity oi a despot 
By his commands the cities of Greece and Asia were despoiled 
of their most valuable ornaments." The trophies of memo- 
rable wars, the objects of religious veneration, the most finished 
statues of the gods and heroes, of the sages and poets, of 
apcient times, contributed to the isplendid triumph of Constan- 
ttnople; and gave occasion to the remark of the historian 
Gedrenus,^' who observes, with some enthusiasm, that nothing 
seemed wanting except the souls of the illustrious men whom 
these admirable monuments were intended to represent. But 
it is not in the city of Gonstantine, nor in the declining 

*° For the forests of the Black Sea, consult Tournefort, Lettre XVI. 
for tilie marble quarries of Proconnesus, see Strabo, 1. xiii p. 588^ . 
[881, edit Casaub.l The latter bad already furnished tho materialtf 
of the stately buildings of Cyzicus. 

*^ See the Codex Theodos. L xiii. tit. iv. 1^. 1. This law is dated 
iu the year 834, and was addressed to the prsefect of Italy, whose 
jurisdiction extended over Africa. The commentary of Oodefroy on 
the whole title well deseryes to be consulted. 

*^ Constantiaopolis dedicatur poene omnium urbium nuditate. Hie- 
ron^rm. Chron. p. 181. See Oodinua, p. 8, 9. The author of the 
Antiquitat. Const. I iil (apud Banduri Imp. Orient tom. I p. 41) 
enumerates Rome, Sicily, Antioch, Athens, and. a long list of othet 
cities. The provinces of Greece and Asia Minw may be supposed to 
have yielded the richest booty. 

** Hist Compend. p. 869. He (^escribes the statue, or rather bns^ 
of Homer with a degree of taste which plainly indicates that Cadro- 
ans copied the style of a more fortunate age. 

Digitized by 


A.D. 324.] OF T&K ROMAN KMPIBS. ft 

petiod of an empire, when the humaii mind was deproBsed by 
dyil tod reUgious slavery, that we should seek for tne souls of 
Sotner and oif Demosth^ies. 

Daring the i^iege of Byzantium^ the conqueror had pitched 
his tent on the commancting eminence of the second hill. To 
perpetuate the memory of his success, he chose the same 
advantageous position for the principal Forum ;^^ which 
appears to have^>o«nof a circular, or rather elliptical form. 
The two opposite entrances fermed triumphal arches; the 
porticos, which enclosed it on every side, were filled with 
statues ; and the centre of the Forum was occupied by a lofty 
column, of which a mutilated fragment is now degraded by 
the appellation of the burnt pUlar. This cdumn was erected 
on a pedestal of white marble twenty feet high ; and was 
composed of ten pieces of porphyry, each of which measured 
about ten feet in height, and abcmt thirty-three in circumfer- 
ence/* On the summit of the pillar, above one hundred and 
twenty feet from the ground, stood the colossal statue of 
Apollo. It was of bronze, had been transported either from 
Athens or from a town of Phrygia, and was supposed to be 
the work of Phidias. The artist had represented the god of 
day, or, as it was afterwards interpreted, the emperor Constan- 
tino himself, with a sceptre in his right hand, the globe of the 
world in his left, and a crown of rays glittering on his head.** 
The Circus, or Hippodrome, was a stately building about four 

** Zoaim. L ii. p. 106. Chron. Alexandria, vel PaschoL p. 284l 
Duoange;, Const L i. c 24. Even the last of those writers seems to 
confound the Forum of Oonstantine with the Augusteum, or court of 
the palace. I am not satisfied whether I have properly distiriguished 
what belongs to the one and the other. 

^^ The most tolerable account of this column is given by Pocock 
Description of the East^ vol ii. part ii p. 131. But it is still in many 
instances perplexed and u^satis^lctory. 

*• Ducange, Const I i. c. 24, p. 76, and his notes ad Alexiad p. 882. 
The statue of Constantine or Apollo was thrown down under the reigi 
of Aleidus Comnenu&* 

* On this column (says M. von Hammer) Constantine, with nngalar 
shamelessness, placed his own statue with the attributes of ApoUo and 
Christ. He substitated the nails of the Passion for tha raya of the son. 
Bach is the direct testimony of the author of the AntiquiL Constantinop. apud 
Banduri. Constantine was replaced by the "great and religions" Julian, 
iuiian, by Theodosias. A. D. 1412, the Key stone was loosened by an earib 
q4ake. Tlie statue fell in the reign of Alexius Comnenus, and was replaoed 
by the cross. The Palladium was said to be buried under the pillar. Voo 
Hummer, Coi stantinopolis and de^* Bosp'^rf>p, v 162.- M. 

■ Digitized by 


i#0 ^«£ |>KCU^E AND FALL [A.I>.d24. 

Imndied paces in length, and one hundred in breadth.*^ The 
tpaoe between the two metas or goals were filled with statues 
and obelisks ; and we may still remark a very singular frag- 
ment of antiquity ; the bodies of three serpents, twisted into 
one pillar of brass. Their triple heads had onoe supported 
the golden tripod which, after the defeat of Xerxes, was con- 
secrated in tke temple of Delphi by the victorious Greeks.^ 
The beauty of the Hippodrome has been long since defaced 
by the rude hands of the Turkish conquerors ; f but^ under 
the similar appellation of Atmeidan, it still serves as a place 
of ex^cise for their horses. From the throne, whence the 
emperor viewed the Circensian games, a winding staircase*' 
descended to the palace ; a magnificent edifice, which scarcely 
yielded to the residence of Rome itself, and which, together 
with the dependent courts, gardens, and porticos, covered a 
considerable extent of ground upon the* banks of the Propon- 
tis between the Hippodrome and the . church of St. Sophia.** 

*^ Toumefort (Iiettre XIL) computes the atmeidan at four hun- 
dred paces. If he means geometrical paces of five feet each, it was 
three Dundred toises in length, about forty more than the great circus 
of Rome. See D'Anville, Mesures Itineraires, p. 78. 

<8 The guardians of the most holy relics would rejoice if they were 
able to produce such a chain of evidence as may be alleged on this 
occasion. See Banduri ad Anti(^uitat Const p. 668. Gyllius de 
Byzant 1. ii. c. 18. 1. The origmal consecration of the tripod and 
pillar in the temple of Delphi may be proved from Herodotus and 
Pausanias. 2. The Pagan Zosimus agrees with the three ecclesiastical 
historians, Eusehius, Socrates, and Sozomen, that the sacred orna- 
ments of the temple of Delphi were removed to Constantinople by 
the order of Constantine ; and among these the serpentine jpitlar of 
ihe Hippodrome is particularly mentioned. 8. All the European 
travellers who have visited Constantinople, from Buondelmonte to 
Pocock. describe it in the same place, and almost in the same manner; 
the differences between them are occasioned only by the injuries 
which it has sustained from the Turks. Mahomet the Second broke 
the under-jaw of one of the serpents with a stroke of his battle-axe. 
Thevenot,! I c. 17.* 

*• The Latin name Cochlea was adopted by the Greeks, and verj 
frequently occurs in the Byzantine history. Dacange, Const .. J. c. 1, 
p. 104. 

*• Hiere are three topographical points which indicate the situation 

* See note 75, ch. bcviii. for Dr. Clarke's rejection of Tbevenof s autfaorhy. 
Von Hammer, however, repeats the story of Tlievenot witboat questioning 
its authenticity. — M. 

t lu 1808 the Janizaries revolted against the vizier Mnstapha Baisactar, 
who wished to introduce a new system of military organization, besieged the 
qnarter of the Hippodrome, in which stood the palace of the vizierA and tbt 
Hippodrome vNras oonsamed iu the couflagratioQ. — (). 

Digitized by 


/LI>,324.] OF THB ROMAN XMPIRV. 19} 

We migiit likewise celebrate the baths, whibh still retailed 
the nauie of Zeaxippus, after they had been enriched, by the 
munificence of Constanlane, with lofty columnis, various 
marbles, and above threescore statues of br6nze.*' But we 
should deviate from the design of this history, if we attempted 
minutely to describe the dii&rent buildings or quarters of the 
eity. It may be sufficient to observe, jthat whatever could 
adorn the dignity of a great capital, or contribute to the benefit 
or pleasure of its numerous inhabitants, was contained within 
the walls of Constantinople. A particular description, com- 
posed about a century after its foundation, enumerates a 
capitol 0% school of learning, a circus, two theatres, eight 
public, and one hundred and My-three private baths, fifty-two 
porticos, five granaries, eight aqueducts or reservoirs of 
water, four spacious halls for the meetings of the senate oi 
courts of justice, fourteen churches, fourteen palaces, and four 
thousand three hundred and eighty-eight houses, which, foi 
their size or beauty, deserved to be distinguished from the 
multitude of plebeian inhabitants/* 

The populoushess of his fevered city was the next and most 
serious object of the attention of its founder. In the dark 
ages which succeeded the translation of the empire, the remote 

of the palace. 1. The staircase which connected it with the Hippo* 
drome or Atmeidan. 2. A small artificial port on the Propontis, from 
whence there was an easy ascent, by a flight of marble steps, to the 
gardens of the palace. 8. The Augasteum was a spacious court, one 
side of which was occupied by the front of the palace, and another by 
the church of St Sophia. 

*^ Zeuxippus was an epithet of Jupiter, and the baths were a part 
of old Byzantium. The. difficulty of assigning their true situau^n 
has not been felt by Ducange. ' History^ seems to connect them witi^ 
St Sophia and the palace ; but the original plan inserted in Baiiduri 
places them on the other side of the city, near the harbor. For their 
oeauties, see Chron. Paschal, p. 285, and Gyllius de Byzant. I. ii. c. 7. 
Ohristodorus (see Antiquitat. Const 1. vu.) composed inscriptions in 
verse for each of the statues. He was a Theban poet in genius as woU 
as in birth : — 

BflBotum in orasso Jarares aSie natnui.* 

" See the Notitia. Rome only reckoned 1780 large houses, domm; 
but the word must have had a more dignified signification. No insula 
are mentioned at Constantinople. The old capital consisted of 421 
■treets, the new of 822. 

* Yet, for his age^ the descriptioD of the stataes of Hecuba and of Hornet 
•TO bj D9 means withnut merit See Antholog. Palat (edit Jacobs) i 9 

Digitized by 


lOd T&S DfiCLtim: AKD FALL |A.D. 824, 

and tihe iihmediate consequences of tkat memorable event 
wflre strangely confounded by the vanity of the Greeks and 
the credulity of the Latins.** It was asserted, and believed, 
that all the noble families of Rome, the senate, and the eques- 
trian order, with their innumerable attendants, had followed 
their emperor to the banks of the Propontis ; that a ^piirious 
race of strangers and plebeians was left to possess the solitude 
of the ancient capital ; and that the lands of Italy, long since 
converted into gardens, were at once deprived of cultivation 
and inhabitants^* In the course of this history, such exag- 
gerations will be reduced to their just value : yet, since the 
growth of Constantinople cannot be ascribed to the general 
increase of mankind and of industry, it must be a£nitted 
that this artificial colony was raised at the expense of the 
indent cities of the empre. Many opulent senators of Rome, 
and of the eastern provinces, were probably invited by Con- 
stantine to adopt for their country the fortunate spot, which he 
had chosen for his own residence. The invitations of a mas* 
ter are scarcely to be distinguished from commands ; and the 
liberality of the emperor obtained a ready and cheeifiil obedi- 
ence. He bestowed on his favorites the palaces which he had 
built in the several quarters of the city, assigned them lands 
and pensions for the support of their dignity,** and alienated 
the demesnes of Pontus and Asia to grant hereditary estates 
by the easy tenure of maintaining a house in the capital** 

** liutpraad, Legatio ad Imp. Nicephormn, p. 153. The modem 
Greeks have stranffelj disfigured the antiquities of Constantinople. 
We might excuse l£e errors of the Turkish or Arabian writers; but 
/t is somewhat astonishing, that the Qreeks, who had access to the 
Authentic materials preserved in their own language, should prefer 
fiction to truth, and loose tradition to genuine lustorj. In a single 
page of Oodinus we may detect twelve unpardonable mistakes ; the 
reconciliation of Severus and Niger, the marriage of their son and 
daughter, the sir^e of Byzantium by the Macedonians, the invasion 
of ti&e Gauls, which recalled Severus to Rome, the sixty years which 
eh^sed from his death to the foundation of Constantinople, <&c. 

** Montesquieu, Grandeur et Decadence des Remains, c 17. 

** Themist. Orat. iii p. 48, edit Hardouin. Sozomen, 1. ii. a 8. 
Zosim. L il p. 107. Anonym. Valesian. p. 715. If we could credit 
Codinus, (p. 10,) Constantino built houses for the senatcurs on the exact 
model of their Roman palaces, and gratified them, as well as himself, 
with the pleasure of an agreeable surprise ; but the whole story is full 
af fictions and inconsistencies. 

^' The law by Which the younger Theodosius, in the year 488, 
abolished thisi tenure, may be found among the KoyellsB- of that 
emperor at the end of the Theodosian Code, torn vi. nov. 12. 11 ^« 

Digitized by 





But these eneooragements and obligations soon became super*- 
fluous, and were graduailj abolished. Wherever the seat of 
government is fixed, a consideraUe part of the public revenue 
will be expended by the prince himself by his nnnistens, by 
the officers . of justice, and by the domestics of the palace. 
The itiost wealtby of the provincials will be . attracted by the 
powerful motives of interest and duty, of amusement and 
smiofiity* A third and more numerous class of inhabitants 
will insensibly be formed, of servants, of artificers, and of 
merchants, who derive their subsistence from their own labor. 
4nd from the wants or luxury of the superior ranks. In lesa 
Chan a century, Oonstiuitinople disputed with Bome itself the 
preteiin^ce of riches and numbers. New .piles of buildings, 
crowded together with too little regard to health or convenience, 
scarcely allowed the intervals of narrow streets for the peiL 
petual throng of men, of horses, and of carriages. The 
allotted space of ground was insufficient to contain the increas- 
ing people ; and the additional foundations, which, on either 
side, were advanced into the sea, might alone have composed 
a very considerable dty.'^ 

The frequent and regular distributions of wine and chI, of 
com or bread, of money or provisions, had almost exempted 
the poorest citiisens of Rome irom the necessity of labor. The 
magnificence of the first Caesars was in some measure imi- 
tated by the founder of Constantinople : ** but his liberality, 

Tillemont (Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 8*71)1108 evidently mis- 
taken the nature of these estates. With a grant from the Imperial 
demesnes, the same condition was accepted as a fEivor, which would 
|ustiy have been deemed a hardship, if it had been imposed upon 
private property. 

" The passages of Zosimus, of Eunapius, of Sozomen, and of 
Agathias, which relate to the increase of buildings and inhabitants at 
Constantinople, are collected and connected by Gyllius de Byzant L 
1. c. 8. Sidonius Apollinaris (in Panegyr. Anthem. 66, p. 279, edit 
Sirmond) describes the moles that were pushed forwards mto the sea , 
they C(Misisted of the famous Puzzolan sand, which hardens in tlie 

'* Sozomen, L ii. c. 8. Philostoiig. 1. il c 9. Codin. Antiquilat 
Const p. 8. It appears by Socrates, L ii. c. 18, that the daily allow- 
tnce of the city consisted of eight myriads of o-trov, which we may 
either translate, wiUi Valesiua, by the words modii of corn, or consider 
as expressive of the number of loaves of bread.* 

* At Bx)me the poorer citizens who received these grataities were in- 
w^ibcd in a register ; they had only a personal right Constantine attached 
the right to the houses in his new capital, to engage the low*^ .claFfles of 
the ^fKxijlUi to baild tlieir houses with expedition. Codex TbeTodos I zJv 

Digitized by 




104 THX DSCLnrs and vau. [A.D.S24 

howerer it might excite the applanse of tL<) people, has in* 
curred the censure of posterity. A nation of legyators and 
conquerors might assert their daim to the hanrests of Afidea, 
which had been purchased with their blood ; and it waa artr 
fully contrived by Augustus, that, in the enjoyment of plenty, 
the Bomans should lose the memory of freedom. But: the 
prodigality of Oonstantine could not be excused by any. eon- 
^deration either of public or private interest; and the annual 
tribute of com imposed upon Egypt for the benefit of his new 
capital, was apphed to feed a lazy and insoknt populace, at 
the expense of the husbandmen of an industrious province.** * 
Some other regulations of this emperor are less liable to blarney 
but they are less deserving of notice. He divided Oohstan* 
tinople into fourteen regions or quarters,*^ dignified the pubHo 
council with the appellation of senate,'^ communicated to 

*• See Cod. Theodos. 1. adii. and xiv., and Cod. Justinian. Edict xii. 
torn. ii. p. 648, edit Gene7. See the beautiful complaint of Rome in 
the poem of Claudian de BelL . Gildonico, ver. 46— -64. 

Cum subiit par Roma mihi, diTiaaque aamsit 
Equates aurora togas ; jEgyptia rura 
Id partem cessere novam. 

'" The regions of Constantinople are mentioned in the code of 
Justinian, and particularly deseribed in the Notitia of the younger 
Theodosius; but as the four last of them are not included within the 
wall of Constantine, it may. be doubted whether tUa divisioii of the 
city should be referred to me founder. 

■* Senatum constituit secondi ordiuis; Claro8 vocavit.' Anonym 
Valesiaa p. 715. Qlie senators of old Rome were styled Clarimmi 
See a curious note of Valesius ad Ammian. Marcellin. zzii 0. Fron 
the eleventh epistle of Julian, it should seem that the place of senatoi 
was considered as a burden, rather than as an honor ; but the Abb6 
de la Bleterie (Vie de Jovien, torn. ii. p. 3tl) has diown that thia 
epistle could not relate to Constantinople. Might we not read, instead 
of the celebrated name of Bv^ai/rtoi;, tne obscure but more probable 
word 0iaavefi>ois f Bisanthe or Rh(Bdestus, now Rhodosto, was a small 
maritime dty of Thrace. See Stephan. Bjz. de Urbibus, p. 225, and 
Cellar. Geograph. torn. i. p. 849. 

T This was also at the expense of Rome. The emperor ordered that the 
fleet of Alexandria should transport to Constantinople the grain of Bgypt 
which it carried before to Rome: this grain sapphed Rome during fatf 
noDths of the year. Claudian has describedjwitn force the famine coe»* 
dmied by this measure : — 

Ha9c nobis, h»c ante dabas ; nunc pabula tantam 
Roma precor : misorere tuse, patec optime, gentis : 
Extremam defende famem. 

Claud, de Bell. Gildou. t. 94. 

— G. 
It was scarcely this measure. Gildo had cut off the African as well aatltf 
Kgyptian supplies. — IH, 

Digitized by 


A«D.830--3d4«| ov tuk uohan ncpiBS. 2M 

die citiaens the privileges of Italj,'* and bestowed (Hi tli# 
rising dij the title of Colony, the first and most favofed 
daughter of andent Rome. The Tenerable parent still main-* 
tained the legal and acknowledged supremacy, which was dae 
to her age, her dignity, and to the remembrance of her former 

As Oonstantine urged the progress of the work with th^ 
imps^i^ice of a lover, the walls, the portieos, and the prin- 
cipal edifices were completed in a few years, or, according to 
another aooount, in a few months ;** but this extraordinary 
diligence should excite the less admiration, since many of 
the buildings were finished in so hasty and imperfect a man- 
ner, that under the succeeding reign, they were preserved 
with difficulty from impending ruin.** But while they dis- 

•• Cod. Theodos. 1. xiv. 13. The commentary of Godefroy (torn. v. 
p. 220) is long, but perplexed ; nor indeed is it easy to ascertain iu 
what ihe Jus Italicam could OMiBist, after the freedom of the city had 
been commumcated to the whole empire.* 

'* Julian (Orat. I p. 8) celebrates Constantinople as not less supe* 
rior to all other cities than she was inferior to Rome itself. His 
learned commentator (Spanheim, p. 'IS, 76) justifies this language by 
several parallel and contemporary instances. Zosimus, as well as 
Socrates and Socomen, flourished after the division of the empire 
between the two sons of Theodosius, which established a perfect 
eqwdity between the old and the new capitaL 

** Codinus (Anti<)uitat p. 8) affirms, that the foundations of Con- 
stantinople were laid in the year of the world 5837, (A. D. S29,) on 
the 26 th of September, and that the city was dedicated the 11th of 
May, 5838, (A. D. 830.) He connects those dates with several char- 
acteristic epochs, but they contradict each other; the authority of 
Codinus is of little weight, and the space wliich he assigns must appear 
insuffideni. The term of ten years is g^ven us by Julian, (Orat i 
p. 8 ;) and Spanheim labors to establish the truth of it, (p. 69—76,^ b> 
the help of two passages from Themistius, (Orat iv. p. 58,) and of 
Philostorgius, (l ii. c. 9,) which form a period from the year 824 to th« 
year 334. Modern critics are divided concerning this point of diro^ 
nology, and their different sentiments are very accurately described b^ 
Tillompnt, Hist des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 619 — 625. 

'^ liiemistius. Orat iii. p. 47. Zosim. 1. il p. 108. Constantine him* 
Bulf, in one of liis laws, (Cod. Theod. 1. xv. tit i.,) betrays his im- 

* "This right, (the Jus Italicnm,) which by most writers is referred with 
oat ^yondation to the~ personal condition of vhe citizens, properly related to 
the city as a whole, and contained two pans. First, the Roman or quiritav 
rian prc^perty in the 6(m1, (oommerciam,) and its capability of mancipation, 
ttSQcaption, and vindication ; moreover, as an inseparable oonsec^nence of 
Ibis, exemption from land-tax. Then, secondly, a free oonstitatioo in 
the Italian form, with Duimvirs, Clainqaemiales, and JEdiles, and 
Mpedallv with Jarimlictton/' Savigny, Gescnichte dcs Rom. Rechta b L 

Digitized by 



phjed tho vigor and freshniess of youth* the founder pieparad 
to celebrate the dedication of lus dty/* The games and 
largessee which crowned the pomp ci iiuR memorable festival 
may easily be supposed ; but there is one drcuDutance of a 
more singular and permanent nature, which ought not enctirely 
to be overlooked. As often as the birthday of the dty 
returned, the statute of Constantine, framed by his order, of 
gilt wood, and bearing in his right hand a small image of the 
genius of the place, was erected on a triumphal ear. The 
guards, carrying white tapers, and dothed in thdr richest 
apparel, accompanied the solemn procession as it moved 
through the Hippodrome^ When it was opposite to the throne 
of the reigning emperor, he rose from his seat, and with grate^ 
ful reverence adored die memory oi his. predecessor.*' At 
the festival of the dedication, an edict, engraved on a column 
of marble, bestowed the title of Second or New Eobce on the 
dty of Constantine.'* But the name of Constantinople*' has 
prevailed over that honorable epithet ; and after the revolution 
of fourteen centuries, still perpetuates the fame of its author.'* 
The foundation of a new capital is naturally connected with 
the establishment of a new form of civil and military admin- 
jstrafion. The distinct view of the complicated system of 

'* Gedrenus and Zonaras, faithful to the mode of superstition which 
prevailed in their own times, assure us that Constantinople was Cfko- 
secrated to the virgin Moth^ of Gkxl. 

'^ The earliest and most complete account of this extraordinary 
ceremony may be found in the Aiezandrian Ohromcle, p. 285. Tille- 
mont, and the other friends of Constantine, who are offended with the 
air of Paganism which seems unworthy of a Christian prince, had a 
right to consider it as doubtful, but they were not authorized to omit 
the mention of it 

^ SoEomen, 1. ii. c. 2. Ducange C. P. L i. c. 6. Yelut ipsius Romss 
Qliam, is the expression of Augustin. de Civitat Dei, L v. c. 25. 

•• Eutropius, L X. c 8. Julian. Orat L p. 8. Ducange C. P. L I 
«. 5. The name of Constantinople is extant on the medals of Gon- 

^® The lively Fontenelle (Diak«ues des Morts, xiL) affects to deride 
the vanity of human ambition, andscems to triumph in the disappoint- 
ment of Constantine, whose immortal name is now lost in the vulgar 
appellation of Istambol, a Turkish corruption of Us rfiv irdXtr. Yet the 
original name is stiU preserved, 1. By the nations of Eun^. 2. By 
the modem Greeiks. 3. By the Arabs, whose writings are diffdsed 
over the wide extent of tiieir conquests in Asia and Africa. See 
D'Herbelot, Biblioth^que Orientale, p. 275. 4 By the more learned 
]*nrks, and by the emperor himself in his public mandates Cantemir'f 
History of tije Othman Empire, p. 51. 

Digitized by 


&.D. 380-^84.] OF THE BOUAN BMFIBii. |09 

poliej, mtroduced by Diocletian, improved by Coastantuiei, 
and completed by hia uhmediate suocessors, may not only 
amuse the fancy by the singular : picture of a great empire, 
but will tend to illuatrate the secret and internal causes of its 
rapid decay. In the pursuit of any remarkable institution, we 
may be frequently led into the more early or the more recent 
times of the Roman history ; but the proper limits of this 
inquiry will be included within a period of about one hundred 
and thirty years, from the accession of Ck>nstantine to the 
publication of the Theodosian oode */^ from which, as well as 
from the Notilia* of the East and West," we derive the 
most copious and authentic information . of the state of the 
empire. This variety of objects will suspend, for some time, 
the course of the narrative ; but the interruption will be cen- 
sured only by those reiiders who are insensible to the impor* 
tanoe of laws and manners, while they <peruse, with eager 
curiosity, the transient iiitrigues of a court, or the accidentd 
event of a battle. 

The manly pride of the Romans, content with substantia] 
power, had left to the vanity of the East the forms and cere- 
monies of ostentatious greatness J* But when they lost even 
the semblance of those virtues which were derived from their 
ancient freedom, the simplicity of Roman manners was insen- 
sibly corrupted by the stately affectation of the courts of Asia. 

^^ The Hieodoaian code was prcmmlgmted A. D. 488. See the Pro- 
legomena o/ Godefroy, c i p. 185. 

^^ Pancirolus, in bis elaborate Commentary, assigns to the l^otitia a 
date ahnost similar to that of the Theodosian Code ; but his proofs, 
or rather conjectures, are extremely feeble. I should be rather in- 
clined to plaice this useful work- between the final division of the 
empire (A. D. 895) and the successful invasion of Gaul by the bar- 
banans, (A. D. 407.) See Histoire des Anciens Peuples de TEurope, 
tom. viL p. 40. 

^' Scilicet externse superbisa sueto, non inerat notitia nostri, (perhap 
HoatrcB ;) apud quos vis Imperii valet, inania transmittuntia*. Tacit 
Annal xv. 81. The gradation from the style of freedom and sim- 
plicity, to that of form and servitude, may be traced in the Epistles of 
Cicero, of Pliny, and of Symmachus. 

* The Notitia Dignitatam Imperii is a description of all the offices in 
the court and the state, of the legions, &c It resembles our court aboa- 
oacs, (Had Books,) with this single difference, that oar almanacs name 
the persons in office, the Notitia only the offices. It is of the time of the 
emperor Tbeodosius IL, that is to say, of the fifth century, when the era- 
phe was divided into the Eastern and Western. It is probable that it waji 
not made €ir the first time, and that descriptions of the same kind existed 
before.— G. 

Digitized by 


tOi tBK DKCLIHB AND FAUL [A. D. 390--8iML 

The dislaiictloin of personal merit and influeuoe, so conspieu* 
ous in a republic, so feeble and obscure under u monarchj, 
wore abolished bj the despotism of the emperors ; who substi' 
tnted in tlieir room a severe subordination of rank and Mfse^ 
frcm the titled slaves who were seated on the steps of the 
throne, to the meanest instruments of arbitrary power. Thii 
multitude of abject dependants was interested in the suj^kmI 
Df the actual government from the dread of a revolution, 
which might at once confound their hopes and intercept the 
reward of their services. In this divine hierarchy (for such 
it is frequently styled) every rank was marked with the most 
scrupulous exactness, and its dignity was displayed in a va> 
riety of trifling and solemn ceremonies, which it was a study 
to learii, and a sacrilege to neglect^^ The purity of the Latin 
lang^uage was debased, by sSopting, in the intercourse of 
pride and flattery, a profusion of epithets, which Tullv would 
scarcely have understood, and which Augustus would have 
rejected with indignation. The principal officers of the empire 
were saluted, even by the sovereign himself, with the deceitful 
tides of your Sincerity, your Gravity^ your ExodUncyj youi 
EtMnmoe, your sublime and toonderfkl Magnitude, your UluS" 
trioue and magnijicent HighneesJ* The codicils or patents 
of their office were curiously emblazoned with such emblems 
as were best adapted to explain its nature and high dignity ; 
the image or portrait of the reigning emperors ; a triumphal 
car; the book of mandates plu^ on a table, covered with a 
rich carpet, and illuminated by four tapers; the allegorical 
figures of the provinces which they governed ; or the appella- 
tions and standards of the troops whom they commanded 
Some of ihese official ensigns were really exhibited in theii 
hall of audience ; others preceded their pompous march when- 

''* The emperor Gratian, after oonfirming a law of precedency puH- 
lished by Yalentinian, the father of his Dimnityj thus continues: 
Siauis igitur indebitum sibi locum usurpaverit, nulla se ignoration^ 
defendat ; sitque plane aaerilegii reus, qui divina proecepta neglexerit 
Cod Theod. 1. vi. tit v. leg. 2. 

^* Consult the Notitia Dignitatum at the end of the Thoodoeian 
code, tom. vi p. 816 * 

* CoDstantm, qui rempla^a le pjand Patriciat par mie noblesae titr^, et 
qui chaDgea avec d'antres institauonji la nature de la society Latino, e^t le 
f Writable fondateur de la royaut^ modeme, dans ce qw'elle conserva de Ra- 
Huin. Chateaubriand, Etud. Histor. Preface, i. 151. Manso, (Leben Coa- 
■tinrinfl des Grossen,) p 153, &c., has eivcn a lucid view of the dig^dti 
mid daties of the officers in the Imperial roart — M. 

Digitized by 


JlD. S8D--d34.] OF THE RdUAK BMPIAB. lOt 

ever they appeared in public ; ^nd every drcumstaDc<9 of thdt 
demeanor, their dress, their ornaments, and their train, wan 
ealcnlated to inspire a deep reverence for the repreBantativea 
of supreme majesty. By a philosophic observer, the system 
of the Roman government might have been mistaken for a 
splendid theatre, filled with players of every character and 
degree, who repeated the langus^e, and imitated the pnssions^ 
•f thdr original model.** 

All the magistrates of sufficient importance to find a place 
in the general state of the empire, were accurately divided 
into three classes. 1. The Ulustriaus, 2. The Spedahiles^ 
or Bespeeiahle. And, 3. The Clarisdmi; whom we may 
translate by the word Honorable. In the times of Roman 
simplicity, the last-mentioned epithet was used only as a vague 
expression of deference, till it became at length the peculiar 
and appropriated title of all who were mefmbers of the -sen- 
ate,** and consequently of all who, firom that venerable body, 
were selected to govern the provinces. The vanity of those 
who, from their rank and office, might cUim a superioi 
distinction above the rest of the senatorial order, was long 
afterwards indulged with the new appellation of BetpectahU ; 
but the title of Ultutrious was always reserved to some emi- 
nent personages who were obeyed or reverenced by the two 
subordilirate classes. It was communicated, only, I. To the 
consuls and patricians ; 11. To the Praetorian prsefects, with 
the prsefects of Rome and Constantinople ; III. To the mas- 
ters-general of the cavalry and the infiuitry ; and IV. To the 
seven ministers of the palace, who exercised their 9aered 
functions about the person of the emperor.** Among those 
illustrious magistrates who were esteemed coordinate with 
each other, the seniority of appointment gave place to tli" 
union of dignities.** By the expedient of honorary codicik, 
the emperors, who were fond of multiplying their favors, might 

** Pancirolus ad Notitiam utriusque Imperii, p. 89. But his ex- 
plaoatioDs are obscure, and he does not sufficiently distinguish iha 
painted emblems from the effective ensigns of office. 

''In the Pandects, which may be referred to the Teigns of tlit 
Antonines, ClarUsimu9 is the ordinary and legal title of a senator. 

'* Pancirol p. 12 — 17. I have not taken any notice of the twc 
inferior ranks, jhre/ectissimus and Egregias^ which were given to many 
persons who were not raised to the senatorial dignity. 

'• Cod. Tlieodos. L vi. tit. vl The rules of precedency are aaoer- 
lained with the most minute accuracy by the emperors, and iUuainitec 
with equal prdlixitv l)y their learned interpreter- 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

Ho THB BEOUNE AND FALL (^.V. D. 990-3841 

gometimeB gratify, ihe vanity, ihougli not the ambition, of 
impatient courtieiB.'*' 

L Aa long as the Roman consuls were the first ma^tratea 
of a free state, they derived their right to power from the 
choice of the people. As long as the emperors condescended 
to disguise the servitude whi<£ they imposed, the consuls wero 
JM elected by the real or apparent auffirage of the senate. 
Prom the reign of Diocletian, even these vestiges of liberty 
wero abolished, and the succeasful candidates who were 
invested with the annual hooora of the consulship, affected to 
deplore tlie humiliating condition of their predecessors. The 
Scipios and the Catos had been reduced to solicit the votes of 
plebeians, to pass through the tedious and expensive forms of 
a popular election, and to expose their dignity to the shame of 
a public refusal ; while their own happier fate had reserved 
them for an age and government in which the rewards of 
virtue were assigned by the unerring wisdom of a gracious 
sovereign.'^ In the epistles which the emperor addressed to 
the two consuls electa it was declared, that they were created 
by his sole authority.*' Their names and portraits, engraved 
on gilt tables of ivory, were dispersed over the empiro as 
presents to the provinces, tHe cities, the magistrates, the 
senate, and the people.*' Their solemn inauguration was 
performed at the place of the Imperial residence; and dur- 
ing a period of one hundred and twenty years, Rome was 
constantly deprived of the presence of her ancient magis- 
trates.** ' 

*• Cod Theodos. 1. vi tit xxU. 

^^ AusoniuB (in Gratiarum Actione) basely expatiates on this unworthy 
topic, which is managed by Mamertinus (Panegyr. Vet xl [x.] 16, 19) 
iRith somewhat more fi-eedom and ingenuity. 

^* Cum do C<»isulibu8 in annum creandis, solus mecum volutarem 
. . . . te Consulem et designavi, et dedaravi, et priorem nuncupayi ; 
are some of the expressions employed by the emperor Gratian to his 
preceptor, the poet Ausonius. 
•• Immanesque .... dentes 

Qui secti ferro in tabulas auroaue micantes, 
Inscripti rutilum coelato Consule nomen 
Per proceres et vulgus eant. 

Claud, in ii. Cons. Stilichon. 456. 
UoctfauooQ has represented some of these tablets or dypticka * set 
Bimplemect a TAntiquitc expliquSe, tom. iii. p. 220. 
** Consule Itetatur post plurima seculo tiro 

PaUantcus apex : aisnoscunt rostra cumlee 

Digitized by 


▲..D* 330-334.] OF THB SOMAN SMPIBS. Ill 

, % 

On the morning. of the first of January, tbe oonsnk 
cusumed the ensigns of their dignity. Their dress was a 
robe of purple, embroidered in silk and gold, and soiiKtimes 
ornamented with eostly gems.** On thb solemn occasion 
they were attended by the most eauafflit offioere of the state 
and army, in the habit of senators; .and the useless fascos, 
armed with the once formidable axes, were borne b(/oro 
them by the hctors*** The procession moved from the pal^ 
ace*' to the F<Mrum or principal aqnare^ of the city; where 
tht. consuls. ascended their tribunal, and seated themselv^ in 
the eurule chairs, which were framed after the fashion of 
ancient times. They immediately exeidsed an act of juns- 
dicdoD, by the manunussion of a slave, who was Wughl 
before them for tiiat purpose ; and the ceremony was intended 
to represent the celebrated action of the elder Brutus^ the 
author of liberty and of the consulship, when he admitted* 
among his fellow-citizens the faithful Vindez, who had re 
vealed the consjaraey of the Tarquins.** The public festival 

AudLtas quondam proavis : desuetaque cingit 
Regius auratifl Fora fascibus TTlpia uctor. 

OlaudL in vl Cons. Honor ii, 548. 
From tha rdgn of Caros to the fsizth consakhip of Honotiua, there 
was an interval of one hundred and twenty vears, during which the 
emperors were always absent from Rome on the £rst day cf January. 
See tbe Ghronologie de Tillemonte, torn. iii. iv. and v. 

** See Olaudian in Cons. Prob. et Olybrii, 1*78, Ac. ; and in iv. Cona. 
Honorii, 685, (fee. ; though in the latter it is not easy to separate the 
ornaments of the eniperor from those of the consul. Ausfxiius re- 
ceived from the liberality of Gratian a veitU palmatOt or robe of statOi 
in which the figure of the emperor Gonstantius was embroidered 
Cemis et armorum proceres legumque potentes : 
Patricios sumunt haoitus ; et more Gabmo 
Discolor incedit legio, positisaue parumper 
Bellorum signis, sequitur vezula Quirim. 
Lictori cedunt a<]^uil9B, ridetque togatus 
Miles, et in mediis effulget curia castris. 

Claud in iv. Cons. Honorii, & 

strietaaque procul radiare aeeures. 

In Cons. Prob. 220. 
^ Sec Yalesius ad Ammian. MaroelUn. L xzii. c. 7. 
** Auspice moz Iseto sonuit damore tribunal ; 

Te uatos ineunte quater ; sol^nnia ludit 
Onriina libertas ; deductnm Yindice mor«n 
Lex servat^ fiimulusque jugo lazatus herili 
DiMttar, et grato recoeat securior icto. 

Claui. in iv Cons. Honorii, eil. 

Digitized by 


lis THE DKCLINB AND 7ALL [A. D. 330 ^34 

was continued during several days in all the principal Mm\ 
in Eome, firom custom; in Constantinople, from imitation* 
in Carthage, Antioch, and Alexandria, from the love of pleas' 
ure, and the superfluity of wealth.** In the two capitals of th« 
empire the anuoal games of. the theatre, the circus, and the 
amphitheatre,'* cost four thousand pounds of gold, (about) one 
hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling: and if so heavy 
VOL expense surpassed the fiEusulties or the inclinations of tlM 
magistrates themsdves, the sum was supplied from the Impe- 
rial treasury.*^ As soon as the consuls had discharged these 
customary duties, they were at liberty to retire into the shade 
of private life, and to enjoy, during the remainder of the year, 
the undisturbed contemplation of their own greatness. They 
no longer presided in the national councils; they no longer 
executed the resolutions of peace or war. Their abilities 
(unless they were employed in more e£Eective offices) were of 
little moment ; and their names served only as the legal date 
of the year in which they had filled the chair of Marius and 
of Cicero. Yet it was still felt and acknowledged, in the last 
period of Roman ser>itude, that this empty name might be 
compared, and even preferred, to the possession of substantial 
power. The title of consul was still the most splendid object 
of ambition, the noblest reward of virtue and loyalty. The 
emperors themselves, who disdained the &int shadow of the 
republic, were conscious that they acquired an additional splen- 
dor and majesty as often as they assumed the annual honors of 
the consular dignity.** 

The proudest and most perfect separation which can be 
found in any age or country, between the nobles and the 

®' Celebrant quidem solemnes istos dies omnes abique urbes qusB sub 
legibus agunt ; et Roma de more, et Gonstantinopolis de imitatione, el 
Aatiodiia pro luxu, et disdncta Carthago, et domus fluminis Alexan 
dria. Bed iVeviri Prindpis beneficio. AusoDins in Grat Actiono. 

•• Claudiaii (in Cons. Mall. Tbeodori, 279 — 331) describes, in a lively 
and fjEknciful manner, the various games of the circus, the theatre, and 
the amphitheatre, exhibited by the new consul. The sanguinary com- 
bats of gladiators had already been prohibited. 

*^ Procopius in Hist Arcana, c. 26. 

'' In Consulatu honos sine labore suscipitur. (Mamertin. in Pan- 
egyr. Vet. xi. [x.] 2.) This exalted idea of the consulship is bor* 
rowed from an oration (iil p. 107) pronounced by Julian in the seryile 
court of Constantiua See the Abbe de la Bleterie, (M^moiros de 
TAcademie, torn. xxir. p. 289,) who delights to pursue the vestiget 
M the old constitution, and who sometimes finds them kk his copioiif 

Digitized by 


A.D.830-r3d4.] 07 TUB BOMAN KttPIBK. « US 

people, is p^haps that of the Patridans aiid the PlebMi»»i 
as it was established in the first age of the Roman republiCi 
Wealth and honors, the n^oes of the state, and the ceremo- 
nies of religion, were almost! exdusivelj possessed by the 
former; who^ preserving the puritj of their blood with the 
most insulting jealousy,*' held their clients in a conditioin of 
spedous vassalage. But these distinctions, so incompatible 
with the i^irit of a free people, were removed, after a long 
struggle, by the persevering efforts of the Tribunes. The 
most ac^ve and saccessfui of the Plebeians accumulated 
wealth, aspired to honors, deserved triumphs, contracted alii- 
anoes, and, afiker some generatioxis, assumed the pride of an- 
cient nobility.** The Patrician families, on the other hand, 
whose originial number was never recruited till the end of the 
oonamon^ealth, either failed in the ordinary course of nature, 
or were extinguished in so many foreign and domestic wars, 
or, through a want of merit or fortune, insensibly mingled with 
the mass of the people.*^ Very few remained who could de- 
rive their pmre and genuine origin from the infancy of the city, 
or even from that of the republic, when Caesar and Augustus, 
Claudius and Vespasian, created from the body of the senate 
a competent number of new Patridah families, in the hope of 
perpetuating an order, whidi was still considered as honorable 
and saored.'* But these artificial supplies (in which the reign- 

•• Intermarriages between the Patricians and Plebeians were prohib- 
ited by the laws of the XII Tables ; and the uniform operations of 
human nature may attest that the custom survived the taw. See in 
Livy (iv. 1 — 6) the pride of family urged by the consul^ and the rightn 
ei mankind asserted bv the tribune Gaauleius. 

*^ See the animated picture drawn by Sallust, in the Jugurthine 
war, of the pride of the nobles, and even of the virtuous Metellus, who 
was unable to brook the idea that the honor of the consulship should 
be bestowed on the obscure merit of his lieutenant Marius. (c. 64.) 
Two hundred years before, the race of the Metelli themselves were 
confounded am<Mig the Plebeians of Rome ; and jfrom the etymology 
of their name of Cceciliua, there is reason to believe that those haughty 
nobles derived their origin from a sutler. 

** In the year of Rome 800. very few remained, hot only of the old 
Patrician families, but even of those which had been created by Caesar 
■nd Augustus (Tacit AnnaL zl 26.) The £Eunily of Scaurus (a 
branch of the Patrician .^Smilii) was degraded so low that his father, 
who ezerdsed the trade of a charcoal merchant, left him only ten 
slaves, and somewhat less than three hundred pounds sterling. ( Vale- 
rma Maximus, L iv. c. 4, n. 11. AureL Victor in Scauro.) The farafly 
was saved from oblivion by the merit of ths son. 

••Tacit AnnaL xl 26. Dion Cassius, L iil p 6a* T1m» virtrei 

Digitized by 


114 IBB DSCUNS AND FALL [A. D. 88(M^4 

tag houfie waa always incltiied) were rapidly swept afway by tihe 
rage of tyrants, by frequent revoUilaoiis, by the ohange of man- 
ners, and by Uie intermbctuie of nactions.*' Little more was 
left when Gonstantine ascended the throne^ than a vague and 
imperfect tradition, that the Patricians had onoe been the first 
of the Romans. To form a body of nobles, wbose mfluenee 
may restrain, while it secures the authority of the monarch, 
would have been yery inconsistent with the character and poU 
icy of ConstandDe; but had he seriously entertained such a 
design, it might have exceeded the measure of his power to 
ratify, by an arbitrary edidi, an institution which must expect 
the sanction of time and of opinion. He reyived, indeed, the 
title of Patricians, but he revived it as a personal, not as an 
hereditary distinction. They yielded only to the transient 
superiority of the annual consuk ; but they enjoyed the pre* 
eminence over all the great officers of state, with the most 
fiuniliar access to the person of the prince. This honorable 
rank was bestowed on them for life ; and as they were ukually 
&vorites, and ministers who had grown old in the Imperial courts 
the true etymolc^ of the word was perverted by ignorance 
and flattery ; and die Patricians of Oonatantine were reverenced 
as the adopted Fathers oi the emperor and the republic.'* 

U. The fortunes of the Prsstorian pra^fects were essentially 
different from those of the consuls and Patricians. The latter 
saw their ancient greatness evaporate in a vain title. The for- 
mer, rising by degrees from the most humble condition, were 
invested with the civil and military administration of the 
Roman world. From the reign of Severus to that of Diocle- 
tian, the guards and the palace, the laws and the finances, the 
armies and the provinces, were intrusted to their superintend- 
ing care ; and, like the Viziers of the East, they held with one 
hand the seal, and with the other the standard, of the empire. 
The ambition of the prsefects, always formidaUe, and some- 

of Agrioola, who was created a Patrician by the emperor Vespasiaii* 
reflected honor on that ancient order ; but his ancestors had iK)t any 
claim beyond an Equestrian nobility. 

*^ This feulure would have been aimqst impossible if it were true, as 
Casaubon compels Aurelius Victor to afiSrm (ad Sueton. in 0»Sar 
c 24. See Hist August p. 208, and Casaubon Comment, p. 220) thai 
Vespasian created at once a thousand Patrician families. But this 
extravagant number is too much even for the whole Senatorial order, 
unless we should include ail the Boman knights who were distinguished 
by the permission of wearing the Uttidave. 
' '* Zosimus, 1. ii. p. 118 ; and Godefroy ad Cod. Theodoe. L vl tit n 

Digitized by 


A. D. 330-334.] Of THB ROMAK KM1*I&E* 111 

times fatal to thd masters whom tbej serv^, ytna supported 
bj tiie strength of the Praetorian bands; bat after those 
/laiighty troops had been weakened by Diocletian, and finally 
suppressed by Constantine, the praefects^ who surtived their 
fell, were reduced without difficulty to the station of useful 
•«id obedient minosters. When they were no longer responsi- 
ole for the safety of the emperor's person, they resigned the 
jurisdiction which they had hitherto claimed and exercised 
over all the departments of the palace. They were deprived 
by Constantine of all military command, as soon as they had 
ceased to lead into the field, under their immediate orders, the 
flower of the Roman troops ; and at length, by a singular 
revolution, the captains of the guards were transformed into 
the dvil ma^trates of the provinces. According to the plan 
<^ government instituted by Diocletian, the four princes had 
each their Praetorian praefeot; and after the monarchy was 
once more united in the person of Oonstantii^, he still con- 
tinued to create the same number of four PRiEFscTS, and 
intrusted to their care the same provinces which they already 
administered. 1. The praefect of the East stretched his am- 
ple jurisdiction into the three parts of the globe which were 
subject to the Romans, from the cataracts of the Nile to the 
banks of the Phasis, and from the mountains of Thrace to the 
frontiers of Persia* 2. The important provinces of Pannonia, 
Dada, Macedonia, and Greece, once acknowledged the author- 
ity of the praefect of Illyricum. 3. The power of the praefect 
of Italy was not confined to the country from whence he 
derived his title.; it extended over the additional territory of 
Rhaetia as far as the banks of the Danube, over the dependent 
islands of the Mediterranean, and over that part of the continent 
of Afiica which lies between the confines of Cyrene and those 
of Tingitania. 4. The praefect of the Gauls comprehended 
under &at plural denomination the kindred provinces of Britain 
and Spain, and hu» authority was obeyed from the wall of 
Antoninus to the foot of Mount Atlas.*' 

After the Praetorian praefects had been dismissed from all 
military command, the civil functions which they were 
ordained to exercise over so many subject nations, were 

** Zoeimus, L ii. p. 109, 110. If we bad not fortunately possessed 
this Batisfactory account of the division of the power and provinces of 
the PrsBtorian prefects, we shotild freqaently have been perplex«Hl 
amidBt the copious details of the Code, and the circumBtantlal miinita-. 
■en of the Notitia. 

Digitized by 


116 THS BKCUNB AND FALL [A. D. 330-934 

adequate to the ambition and abilities of ihe mo»t consntnmatff 
ministers. To their wisdom was committed the supreme ad- 
ministration of justice and of the finances, the two objecu» 
which, in a state of peace, comprehend almost all the respec- 
tive duties of the sovereign and of the people ; of the former, 
to protect the citizens who are obedient to the laws ; of the 
latter, to contribute the share of their property which b 
required for the expenses of the state. The coin, the bigbr 
ways, the posts, the granaries, the manufactures, whatever 
could interest the public prosperity, was moderated by the 
authority of the Praetorian praefects. As the immediate repre- 
sentatives of the Imperial majesty, they were empowered to 
explain,' to enforce, and on some occaaons to modify, iiie 
general edicts by their discretionary proclamations. They 
watched over the conduct of the provincial governors, removed 
the negligent, and inflicted punishments on the guilty. From 
all the inferior jurisdictions, an appeal in every matter of 
importance, either civil or criminal, might be brought befom 
the tribunal of the prsefect; but his sentence was final and 
absolute ; and the emperors themselves refused to admit any 
complaints against the judgment or the integrity of a magis- 
trate whom they honored with such unbounded confidence.*** 
His appointments were suitable to his dignity ; "^ and if ava- 
rice was his ruling passion, he enjoyed frequent opportuhitie«i 
of collecting a rich harvest of fees, of presents, and of per- 
quisites. Though the emperors no longer dreaded the ambition 
of their prsefects, they ..were attentive to counterbalance th«^ 
power of this great office by the uncertainty and shortness of 
its duration."'* 

^°^ See a law of Constantine hiinsel£ A prffifectis auteni prsetorio 
provocare, non sinimiis. Cod Justmian. L vil tit bdi. leg. 19. Cha- 
risius, a lawyer of the time of Constantiie, (Heinec. Hist Juris 
Homani, p. 349,) who admits this law as a fmidamental principle of 

i'urispradence, compares the Prsstorian 'prsefects to the masters of tlw 
Mr&e of the ancient dictators. Pandect 1. i tit xL 

*** When Justinian, in the exhausted condition of the empire, in 
atituted a PraBtorian prsefect for Africa, he allowed him a salary of 
one hundred poimds of gold. Cod. Justiniaa L i tit zxvil leg. i. 

"'• For this, and the other dignities of the empire, it may be suf- 
ficient to refer to the ample commentaries of Pandrolus and Oode- 
froy, who have diligentiy collected and accurately digested in their 
proper order all the legal and historical materials. From those au- 
thors, Dr. Howell (Hiatoiy of the World, voL il p. 24—77) hsa 
deduced a very distinct abrid^n^ient of the state of the Roman eio|nr» 

Digitized by 


^D. '350-334.] OF Tiue romam kmpirb. 119 

From their supericH* importance and dimity, llonie and 
Constantinople were alone excepted from the jurisdiction of 
(he PrsBtoiian prefects. The immense size of the city, and 
the experience of the tardy, ineffi^ctual operation of the laws, , 
had fiumished the policy of Augustus with a specious pretence 
for introdudng a new magistrate, who alone could restrain a 
servile and turbulent populace by the strong arm of arbitrary 
pow^/** Valerius Messalla was appointed the first praefect 
of Rome, that his reputation might countenance so invidious a 
measure; but, at the end of a few days, that accomplished 
citizen '*^ resigned his office, declaring, with a spirit worthy of 
the friend of Brutus, that he found himself incapable of exer- 
cising a power incompatible with public freedom."* As the 
sense of Uberty became less exquisite, the advantages of order 
were more clearly understood ; and the praefect, who seemed 
to have been designed as a terror only to slaves and vagrants, 
was permitted to extend his civil and criminal jurisdiction over 
the equestrian and noble femilies of Rome. The praetors, an- 
nually created as the judges of law and equity, could not long 
dispute the possession of the Forum with a vigorous and per- 
manent magistrate, who was usually admitted into the con- 
fidence of the prince* Their courts were deserted, their 
number, which had once fluctuated between twelve and 
eighteen,"* was gradually reduced to two or three, and their 
important functions were confined to the expensive obliga- 
tion"' of exhibiting games for the amusement of the people. 

"• Tacit Annal vl 11. Euseb. ia Chron. p. 155. Dion Cassias, in 
the oration of Mascenas, (L Ivii. p. 675,) doscribos the prerogatives of 
the prsefeci of the city as they were established in his own time. 

'*** The (kme of Messalla has been scarcely equal to his merit In 
the earliest youth he was recommended by Cicero to the friendship of 
Brutus. He followed the standard of the repubUc till it wns broken 
in the fields of Philippi ; he then accepted and deserved the favOr of 
the most moderate of the conquerors ; and uniformly asserted his free- 
dom and dignity in the court of Augustua The triumph of Messalla 
was justified by the conquest of Aquitain. As an orator, he disputed 
the palm of eloauenoe with Cicero mmself Messalla ^ ultivnted every 
muse, and was the patron of every man of genius. He spent his eve- 
ain^ in p|iilo80phic conversation with Horace ; assumed his place at 
table bet^ween Delia and TiboUus ; and amused his leisure by enconrar 
gine the poetical talents of young Ovid 

^^* Imavilem esse potestatem contestans, says the translator of Eit* 
MbiuB. Tacitus expresses the same idea in other words ; quasi nesdua 

^** See Lipsiufl, Excursus D. ad 1 lib. Tacit AnnaL 

**' Heioeccii Element Juris Civilis secund. ordinftm Pandect tc«a 

Digitized by 



After Uie office of the Boman conauls had been changed into 
a vain pageant, which was rarely displayed in thei^capital, the 
prffifects assumed their vaicant p]0ce in the senate, and wero 
soon acknowledged as the ordinary presidents of that yenerable 
assembly. They received appeals from the distance of one 
hundred miles ; and it was allowed as. a principle of jurispru- 
dence, that all municipal authority was derived from them 
alone."* In the discharge of his laborious employment^ the 
governor of Home was assisted by fifteen officers, boboo of 
whom had been originally his equals, or even his superiors. 
The principal departments were relative to the command of 
a numerous watch, established as a safeguard against fires, 
robberies, and nocturnal disorders ; the custody and distribution 
of the public allowance of com and provisions ; the care of 
the port, of the aqueducts, of the common sewers, and of the 
navigation and bed of th d Tyber ; the inspection of the mar« 
kets, the theatres, and of the private as well as public works. 
Their vigilance insured the three prindpal objects of a regular 
police, ^ety, plenty, and cleanliness; and as a proof of the 
attention of government to preserve the splendor and orna- 
ments of the ci^pital, a particular inspector was appointed foi 
the statues ; the guardian, as it were, of that inanimate people, 
which, according to the extravagant computatioq of an old 
writer, was scarcely inferior in number to the living inhabitants 
of Rome. About thirty years after the foundation of Con- 
stantinople, a similar magistrate was created in that rising me- 
tropolis, for the same uses and with the same powers. A per- 
fect equality was established between the dignity of the ttffo 
municipal, and that of the four Praetorian prsBfects."' 

Those who, in the imperial hierarchy, were distinguisheil by 

i. p. 10. See, likewise, Spaobeim. de Usu. NumUmatum, torn, il dis* 
sertat x. p. 119. In the year 450, Marcian published a law, that threi 
citizens should be annuallj created Pristors of OonstantiDO{>le by tha 
choice of the senate, but with their own consent Cod. Justiniaa li. i. 
tit xzxiz. leg. 2. 

^^^ Quidquid i^tur intra urbem admittitur, ad P. U. videtur perti* 
nere ; sed et siqmd intra contesinxum niilliariam. Ulpiao in Pandect 
L i. tit ziil n. 1. He proceeds to enumerate the various offices of the 
prffifect, who, in the code of Justinian, (L L tit xxzix. le^. 8,) is dedaxed 
to precede and couunand all city magistrates sine injuria ac detrimento 
honoris alienL 

^°^ Besides our usual guides, we may observe that Felix Cant^onua 
has written a separate treatise, De Prsefecto Urbis; and that many 
eunous details concerning the police of Rome and ConstantiiM>|)1e art 
ecntained in the fourteenth hook of the Theodosian Oodd. 

Digitized by 


A. D. 930-834.] OF thb romak supibx. 119 

Qie title of Beapeci^Uy fonned an intermediaie dass betwe«ii 
the iUusUruma praefects, and the honorable magistrates of the 
provinces. In this elass the proconsuls of Asia, Achaia, and 
Aiidcai claimed a pre^orin^ce, which was yielded to the 
remembrance of their ancient dignity ; and the appeal from tbeii 
tribunal to that of the prefects was almost the only mark of 
their dependence."*^ But the civil government of ike empire 
was distributed >nio thirteen gneat diocesbs, each of which 
equalled the just measure :of a powerful kingdom. The firet 
of these dioceses was subject to the jurisdiction of the count of 
the east ; and we may convey some idea of the importance 
and variety of his functions, by observing, that six hundred 
apparitors, who would be styled at present either secretaries, 
or clerks, or ushers, or messengers, were employed in his im- 
mediate office.*" The place of Aufftutal prafect of l^pt 
was no longer filled by a Roman kni^t ; but the name was 
ret'ained ; and the extraordinary powers which the situation of 
the country, and the temper of the inhabitants, had once made 
indispensable, were still continued to the governor. The eleven 
remaining dioceses, of.Asiana, Pontica, and Thrace; of Mace^ 
donia, Dada, and Pantionia, or Western Illyricum; of Italy 
and Africa ; of Gaul, Spain, and Britain ; were governed by 
twelve vicQ^9 or vice-prc^ec<«,*". whose name sufficiently ex- 
plains thfi nature and dependence of their office. It may be 
added, that Ute lieutenant-generals of the Roman armies, the 
military counts and dukes, who will :be hereafter mentioned,, 
were aUowed the rank and title of J^&speciahk, 

As the spirit of jealousy and ostentotion prevailed in the 
councils of the emperors, they proceeded with anxious diligence 
to divide the substance and to multiply the titles of power. 
The vast countries which the Roman conquerors had united 
umler the same simple form of admiiiistratbn, were impe^ 
ceptibly crumbled into minute fragments ; till at length the 

^^® Eunapius affirms, that the proconsul of Asia was independent o( 
the prjfifect ; which must) however, be understood with some allow- 
anco . the jurisdiction of the vice-praefect he most assuredly disclaimecL 
Pondrohis, p. 161. 

"' The proconsul of Africa had four hundred apparitors ; and thej 
all received Wge salaries, either from the treasury or the provincn 
See PanciroL p. 26, and Cod. Justinian. L xil tit Ivi. Ivii. 

*" In Italy there was likewise the Vicar of Rome, It has bee» 
.auch disputed whether his jurisdiction measured one hundred milei 
from the citv, or whether it stretched oyer the ten thousand provinocH 
of Italy. 

Digitized by 


190 .THE BECUICK AND FALL [A. D. 330-334 

whole empiro was distributed into one hundred and sixtees 
provinces, each of which supported an expensive and spleiklid 
establishment Of these, three were governed by procoMuls, 
thirtf-seven by eonsulars, five by correeiarB, and seventy-one 
by preMenU, The appellations of these magrstrates were 
different ; they ranked in successive order, the ensigns of their 
dignity were curiously Varied, and their situation, from acci- 
dental circumstances, might be more <nr leas agreeable or 
advantageous. But they were all (excepting only the pro- 
consuls) alike included in the class of Iiorwrahle persons ; and 
they were alike intrusted, during the pleasure of the prince, 
and under the authority of the praefects or their deputies, vrith 
the administration of justice and the finances in their respec- 
tive districts. The ponderous volumes of the Codes and 
Pandects"' would furnish ample materials for a minute 
inquiry into the system of provincial government, as in the 
space of six centuries it was approved by the wisdom of the 
Roman statesmen and lawyers. It may be sufficient for the 
historian to select two singular and salutary provisions, intended 
to restrain the abuse of authority. 1. For the preservation 
of peace and order, the governors of the provinces were armed 
with the sword of justice. They inflicted corporal punish- 
ments, and they exercised, in ciqntal offences, the power of 
life and death. But they were not authorized to indulge the 
condemned criminal with the choice of his own execution, or to 
pronounce a sentence of the mildest and most honorable kind 
of exile. These prerogatives were reserved to the prsefects, 
who alone could impose the heavy fine of fifty pounds of gold : 
their vicegerents w^e confined to the trifling weight of a few 
ounces."* This distinction, which seems to grant the larger, 
while it denies the smaller degree of authority, was founded 
on a very rational motive. The smaller degree was infinitely 
more liable to abase. The passions of a provincial magis* 
trate might frequently provoke him into acts of oppression, 
which aftected only the freedom or the fortunes of the subject ; 

"' Among the works of the celebrated Ulpian, there was one in ten 
books, eoDc^ming the office of a proconsul, whose duties in the most 
essential articles were thie same as those of an ordinary governor of a 

*" The presidents, or consulars, could impose only two ounces ; the 
vice-prffifects, three; the proconsuls, count of the east, and prefect 
•f Egypt, six. See Heineccii Jur. Civil, torn, i p. *76. Pandect L 
KlviiL tit xix. n. 8. Cod Justmian. 1. L tit liv. leg. 4, A. 

Digitized by 


A. D* dSO-'dS^.] or THB ROMAN KUirtHX. 131 

liioiigl^ from a principle of prudence, perhaps of humanity, h« 
might still be terrified by the guilt of innocent blood. It may 
likewise be considered, that exile, considerable fines, or the 
choice of an easy death, relate more particularly to the rich 
and the noble ; and the persons the most exposed to the ava- 
rice or resentment of a provincial magistrate, were thus 
removed from his obscure persecution to the more augiist and 
Impartial tribunal of the PraBtorian praefect 2. As it was 
reasonably apprehended that the integrity of the judge might 
be biased, if his interest was concerned, or his afiections were 
engaged, the strictest regulations were established, to exclude 
any person, without the spedal dispensation of the emperor, 
fron^ the government of the province where he was born ;"^ 
and to prohibit the governor or his son from contracting mar- 
riage with a native, or an inhabitant ;"' or from purchasing 
slaves, lands, or houses, within the extent of his jurisdiction.^" 
Notwithstanding these rigorous precautions, the emperor Ck>n- 
stantine, after a reign of twenty-five years,, still deplores the 
venal and oppressive administration of justioe, and expresses the 
warmest indignation that the audience of the judge, his de- 
spatch of business, his seasonable delays, and his final sen- 
tence, were publicly sold, either by himself or by the officers 
of his court The continuance, and perhaps the impunity, of 
these crimes, is attested by the repetition of impotent laws 
and ineffectual menaces."* 

AH the civil magistrates were drawn from the profession of 
the law. The celebrated Institutes of Justinian are addressed 

"* Ut nulli patris suaeadministratio sine spNeciali prinflipis permissu 
permittatur. Cod. Justiniaa ]. i. tit zll This law was first enacted 
by the emperor Marcus, after the rebellion of Gassius. (DioD. 1. Izxi) 
llie same regulation is observed in China, with equal strictness, and 
with equal effect. 

"• Pandect L xxiil tit il n. 88, 57, 63. 

"^ In jure oontioetur, ne quis in administratione constitutus aliquiu 
oomparftret. Cod Theod. L viil tit zv. leg. L This maxim of com- 
mon law was enforced by a seriea of edicts (see the remainder of the 
title) from Constantine to Justin. From this prohibition, which is 
extended to the meanest officers of the governor, they except only 
clothes and provisions. The purchase within five years may ho 
recovered; after which, on information, it devolves to the treasuiy. 
. ^^.^.Cessentrapaces jam nunc officialium manus; cessent, inquam 
nam si mcmiti non cessaverint, gladiis pnecidentur, ^c. C<»d Theod. 
L l tit vil leg. 1. 2ieno enacted that all governors should remain in 
the province, to answer any accusations, fifty days after the expiratiov 
4 their power. Cod Justinian. 1. ii> tit xliz. leg. 1. 


Digitized by 


199 tax DKCuvm and vkLL J^A. D. 380^8184 

Uk the youth of his dominions, who had devoted theiBsdves le 
the study of Roman j-urispnidence ; and the sovareisn conde- 
Boends to animate their diligence, by the assuranoe Uiat theii 
B.kili and ability would in time be rewarded by an adequate 
share in the government of the republic.^" The rudiments 
of this lucrative science were taught in all the considerable 
cities of the east and west; but the most &mous school was 
that of Berytus,"** on the coast of Phoenicia ; which flourished 
above three centuries from the time of Alexander Severus, the 
author perhaps of an. institutbn so advantageous to his native 
country. After a regular course of education, which lasted 
five years, the students dispened themselves through the 
provinces, in search of fortune and honors ; nor could thev 
want an inexhaustible supply of business in a great empire, 
already corrupted by the multiplicity of laws, of arts, and of 
vices. The court of the PrsBtonan prsefect of the east could 
alone furnish employment for one hundred and fifty advocates, 
sixty-lour of whom were distinguished by peculiar privileges, 
and two were annually chosen,, with a salary of sixty pounds 
of gold, to defend tiie causes of the treasury. The £rst 
experiment was made of their judidal talents, by appointing 
them to act occasionally as assessors to the magistrates ; from 
thence they were often raised to preside in the tribunals before 
which they had pleaded. They obtuned the government of a 
province; and, by the aid of merit, of reputation, or of fevor, 
they ascended, by successive steps, to the iUustrions dignities 
of the state."^ In the practice of tlie bar, these men had 

^'-* Smnml igitur ope, et alacri atudio has leges nostras aocipiie ; et 
Tosmetipsos sic eniditos ostendite, ut spes vos pulcherrima fovea!; 
toto legituDO open peifecto, posse etiam nostram rempuUieam in par 
tibus ejus yolHS credendis gubernari. JustioiaD. in proem. Inatttii 

"° The splendor of the school of Berytus, which preserved in th< 
east the language and jurisprudcDce of the Romans, may be oomputeo 
to have lasted from the tmrd to the middle of the sixth century 
Heinccc. Jui!. Bom. Hist p. 851—356. 

''-'* As in a former > period I have traced tiie civil and military pro- 
motion of Pertinaz, I shall here insert the dvil honors of Mallim 
Theodoras, 1. He was distinguished by his eloquence, while he pleaded 
as an advocate in the court of the PnetoriaQ prsefect 2. He governed 
one of the proyinces of Africa, either aa president or ooiBalar, and 
deserved, by his admixnstration,; the honor of a brass ttatoe. 8. He 
Iras appointed vicar, or vice-prsefect, of Macedonia, 4v Qiusstor. 
5. Count of the.slusrad largesses. 6. Praetorian prsefect of the Gauls ; 
rhilst he might yet be represented as a joimg man 7 Aft«>r a 

Digitized by 


A.D. 330- (Tdl.] or the komak bmpikb. ISS 

oomiduved re^on as the instrument of dispute; tboy iuter* 
pretefd the isws according to the dictates of private interest^ 
aad the same pernicious habits might still adhere to theu 
characters in the public administration of the state. The 
honor of a liberal profession has indeed been vindicated bj 
aadent and modem advocates, who have filled the most im« 
portant statiohs, with pure integrity and consummate wisdom : 
but in the decline of Roman jurisprudence, the ordinary pro- 
motion of lawyers was pregnant with mischief and disgrace 
The Doble art, which had once been preserved as the sacred 
inheritance of the patricians, wias fallen into the hands of 
freedmen and j^ebeians,"* who, with cunning rather than 
with flkill, exercised a sordid and pernicious trade. Some of 
them procured admittance into &mi]ies for the purpose of 
fomenting differences, of etacouM^g suits, and of preparing 
a harvest of gain for themselves or their brethren. Others, 
reduse in th^ir chambers, maintained the dignity of legal pro- 
fessors, by furnishing a rich client with subtleties to confound 
the plainest truths, and with arguments to color the most 
unjustifiable pret^isions. The splendid and popular class was 
composed ^of the advocates, who filled the Forum with the 
sotmd of their turgid and loquacious rhetoric. Careless of 
^tme and of justice, they are described, for the most part, as 
ignorant and rapacious guides, who conducted their clients 
through a maze of expense, of delay, and of disappointment ; 
from whence, after a tedious series of years, they were at 
length dismissed, when their patience and fortune were almost 

retreat, perhap". & diagrace of many years, which Mallius (confounded 
bv some critics with Sie poet MaoiUus ; see Fabricius Bibliothec. Latm. 
iS^t Ernest ton), i c 18, p. 501) employed in the study of the . Gre- 
ciiui philosophy, he was named Praetorian praefect of Italy, in the yeai 
Z9^. 8, While he still exercised that great offi<te, he was created, ir 
the yef^' 399, consul for the West ; and his name, on account of the 
infieony of his colleague, the eunuch Eutropius, often stands a}KMie io . 
the Fsflti. 9. In the year 408, Mallius was appointed a seoond time 
PlrsBtorian praefect of Italy. Even in the venal pan^yric of Glaudian, 
wemay discover the merit of HaUias Theodorus, who, by a rare feUd- 
ty, was the intimate friend, both of Symmachus and of St Augostia 
See TillemoQt, Hist des Emp. torn. v. p. 1110^1114. 

"^ Mamertinus in Panegyr. Vet xl [x.] 20. Asterius apud Pht>- 
tium, p. 1500. 

^3* The carious passage of Ammianus, <l xxx, c 4,) in which h« 
paints the manners of contemporary lawyers, affords a strange mus^ 

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UL In tiie system of policj introdaoed by Augustas, tin 
governors, those at least of the Imperial provinoes, were in* 
vested with the full powers of the sovereign himaell Minis- 
ten of peace and war, the distribution of rewards and ptrnkb- 
ments depended on them alone, and thej sucoeftiyelj appeared 
on their tribunal in the robes of civil magistracy, and in com- 
plete armor at the head of the Roman l^cms."^ The infln- 
enoe of the revenue, the authority of law, and the command 
of a military force, concurred to render their power supreme 
and absolute; and whenever they were tempted to violate 
their allegiance, the loyal province which they involved in th«r 
rebellion was scarcely sensible of any change in its political 
state. From the time of Commodiis to the reign of Constaii- 
tine, near one hundred governors might be enumerated, 
who, with various success, erected the i^tandard of revolt ; and 
though the innocent were too often sacrificed, the guilty 
might be sometimes prevented, by the suspicious cruelty of 
their master."* To secure his throne and the public tran- 
quillity from these formidable servants, Constantine resolved to 
divide the military from the civil administration, and to estab- 
lish, as a permanent and professional distinction, a practice 
which had been adopted only as an occasional expedient 
rhe supreme jurisdiction exercised by the Praetorian prsfects 
over the armies of the empire, was transferred to the two 
vuuters-general whom he instituted, the one for the ctwalry^ 
Ihe other for the infamUy ; and though each of these tUvMri- 
ous officers was m(XQ peculiarly responsible for the discipline 
of those troops which were under his immediate inspection, 
they both indifferently commanded in the field the several 
bodies, whether of horse or foot, which were united in the 

ture of flound seme, felse rhetoric, and eztravagant satire. Godefroy 
(Prolegom. ad. Cod. Theod c. i. p. 186) supports iba historian by 
similar oomplatnts and authentic fiicts. tn the fourth century many 
camels miAt have been laden with law-books. Eunapius in Yit 

'^^ See a very splendid example in the life of Agricola, particularly 
c. 20, 21. The lieutenant of Britain was intrusted with the same 
powers which Oioero, proconsul of Gilicia, had exercised in the name 
of the senate and peopla 

*'* The Abb6 bubos, who has examined with accuracy (see Hist 
de la Mooarcfaie Fran9oi6e, torn, l p. 41—100, edit. 1742) the institu- 
iSmxA of Augustus and of Constantme, observes, that if Otho had bisen 
put to death the day before he executed his conspiracy, Otho would 
mom appear in history as innocent as Corbulo. '- ' 

Digitized by 


A. D. 230-^334.] OF TBX ROMAN XMriRE. 195 

i army.*'* Their number was soon doubled by the»- 
i6ti of the east and west; and as separate generals of th« 
same rank and title were appointed on the four important 
frontiers of the Rhine, of the Upper and the Lower Danube, 
and of the Euphrates, the defence of the Roman empire was 
at length committed to eight masterB-general of the cavalry 
and infantry. . Under their orders, thirty-five military com- 
maadeiB were stationed in the provinces: three in Britain, six 
in Gaul, one in Spain, one in Italy, five on the Upper, and 
four on the Lower Danube; in Asia, eight, three in £^pt, 
and four in Africa. The titles of counts, and dtikes,^" by 
whick they w;ere properly distinguished, have obtained in 
modem languages so very different a sense, that the use of 
them may occasion some surprise. should be recol- 
lected, that the. second of those appellations is only a corrup- 
tion of the Latin word, which was indiscriminately applied to 
any military chief. All these provincial generals were there- 
tore duke$; but no more than ten among them were dignified 
with the rank' of counts or companions, a title of honor, or 
lather of &v6r, which had been recently invented in the court 
of Oonstantine. A gdd belt was the ensign which distinguished 
the office of the counts and dukes ; and besides their pay, 
they received a liberal allowance sufficient to maintain one 
hundred and ninety servants, and one hundred and fifty-eight 
horses. They were strictly prohibited from interfering in any 
matter which related to the administration <^ justice or tlie 
revenue; but the ccwomand which they exercised over the 
troops of their department, was independent of the authority 
oi the magistrates. About the same time that Constantino 
gave a legal sanction to the. ecclesiastical order, he instituted 
in the Roman empire the nice balance of the civil and the 
military powers. The emulation, and sometimes the discord, 
which reigned between two professions of opposite interests 
and incompatible manners, was productive of beneficial and 
of pemidouA consequences. It was seldom to be expected 

>" Zosimus, L il p. 110. Before the end of the reign of Constant 
tim, the moffistri miiitum were ah^acly increased to four. See Vele 
nus ad Ammian. L zvl c. 7. 

^" Though the militaij oonnts and dukes are frequently rneiv- 
tioned, both in history and the codes, we must have recourse to the 
KotHia for the exact knowledge of their number and atationa For 
the institution, rank, privileges, <bc;, of the counts in oeneral, see Ced 
^Veod. L TL tit xit. — xx^ with the commentary of Oodefrof 

Digitized by 



Aat tbe general and tlie cWil goTeraor of a pKvinoe skoaXd 
either conspire for the disturlMinoe, or should unite for the 
service, of their country. While the one delayed to offer the 
assistance which the other disdained to solicit, the troops veiy 
frequently remained without orders or without supplies ; the 
public safety was betrayed, and the defenoeless sabjecte wane 
left eicposed to the fiiry of the Barbarians. The divided 
administration which had been formed by Oonsta&tine, Fehoed 
the vigor of the state, while it secured the trtnqniUity of the 

The memory of Oonstantine has been deservedly ceasored 
for another innovation, which corrupted military disapline and 
prepared the ruin of the empire. The nineteen yean which 
preceded his final victory over Licimus, had been a period of 
license and intestine war. The rivals who contended for the 
possession of the Roman world, had withdrawn the greatest 
part of their forces from the guard of the general frontier; 
and the principal cities which formed the boundary of their 
respective dommions were filled with soldiers, who considered 
their counttymen as their most implacable enemieB. Afinr the 
use of these internal garrisons had ceased with the civil war, 
the conqueror wanted either wisdom or firmness to revive the 
severe discipline of Diocletian, and to suppress a &tal indul- 
gence, which habit had endeared and almost confirmed to the 
military order. From the reign of Oonstantine, a popular and 
even legal distinction was admitted between the Palatimes^ 
and the Borderers; the troops of the court, as they were 
improperly styled, and the troops of the fipontier. The for- 
mer, elevated by tbe superiority 6f their pay and privileges, 
were permitted, except in the extraordinary emeigeiicies of 
war, to occupy their tranquil stations in the heart of the prov- 
inces. The most flourishing cities were oppressed by the 
intolerable weight of qtiarters. The soldiers iasensibly forgot 
the virtues of their profession, and contracted only the vice 
of dvil life. They were ^ther degraded by the industry of 
mechanic trades, or enervated by the luxury of baths and the- 
atres. They soon became careless of their martial exercises, 
furious in their diet and apparel; and while they ins^nred 

*** Zoshnus, L iL p. 111. The dbtinotion between the two ( 
of Roman troops, is very darkly expreaaed in tbe historians, the lawH^ 
ind the Notitia. Consult, however, the copious paraiitlan, or abstract 
whidi Godefroy has drawn up of the seventh liook, de Ke Militari, of 
Ihe Theodosian Ck>de, I vii. tit; i. leg. 18« I viil tit i. leg. 10. 

Digitized by 


A. D. 93U-334.J OF tH« HottiK luipiaa. Ig) 

tenor to tiie enbjects of th^ «aimrey4hey trembled At the hostito 
ftpptoacb of the Barbftrians. - * The chain of fertifioatiom 
wluoh Dloclettan and his coUeagnes had extended along the 
bank^of ^ great Etvers, was no bnger maintained wiSi the 
rathe care, or d^nded with the sune vigilance. The num- 
bers which still remained under the name of the troops of the 
frontier, might be sufficient for tho ordinary defence ; but their 
spirit was degraded by the humiliating reflectioa, that thiy who 
were exposed to the hardships and dangers of a perpetual 
warfare, were rewarded only with about two thirds of the pay 
and eifloluments Which were* lavished on the tcoof» of the 
eourt Even the bands or legions that were raised ih'Q near> 
est to the level of those unworthy fatvorites, wertf in some 
measure disgraced by the title of honor which they were 
allowed to assume. It was in vain that Oonstantine- repeated 
the noost dreadftil menaces of fire and sword against the 
B(»fderers who should dare desert their cdors, to connive at 
(he inroads of the Barbarians, or to participate in the spoil.*** 
The mischief which flow from injudicious counsels are beldoin 
removed by the application of partial severitiei^ ; and though 
succeeding princes labored to restore the strength and nunibers 
of the frontier garrisons, the empire, till the last moment of 
its dissolution, continued to languish under the mortal wound 
which had been so rashly or so weakly inflicted by Ao band* 
of Constantine. 

The same timid policy, of dividing whatever is united, of 
reducing whatever is eminent, of dreading every active power, 
and of expecting that the most feeble will prove the most 
obedient, seems to pervade the institutions of several princes, 
and particularly those of Constantine. The martial pride of 
the legions, whose victorious camps had so often been the 
scene of rebellion, was nourished by the memory of their past 
exploits, and the consdousness of their actual strength. As 
long as they, maintained their ancient establishment of six 
thousand men, they subsisted, «uder the reign of Diocletian, 
each of them singly, a visible and important object in the 

"* Feroz erat in suos miles et rapax, ignayas vofo in hostes et frar. 
tus. Ammian. L xzii< cl 4» He observes, that they loved downy bedfl 
and houses of marble; and that their cups were heavier than tim 

**« Cod. Theod. L viL tii i leg. 1, tit zil leg. L See Howell's Hisi. 
•f the World, "^ol. ii. p. 19. Tlmt learned historian, who is not suffix, 
fientiy kno^Ti, labors to justify the character and policv of OonstaataM 

Digitized by 



military biatorj of Uie Bomaa empire* A few yenn after* 
wards, these gigantic bodies were shnuik to a very dimioutive 
size ; and wlien seven legio&e, with some auidliaries, defended 
the citjr of Amida against the Persians, the total garrison, 
with the inhabitants of both sexes, and the peasants of the 
deserted country, did not exceed the number of twenty 
thousand persons."' From this fact, and from similar 6x« 
amples, there is reason to believe, that the constitution of the 
legionary troops, to which they partly owed their valor and 
discipline, was dissolved by Constantine ; and that the bands 
of Roman infantry, which still assumed the same names and 
the same honors, consisted only of one thousand or fifteen 
hundred menu"' The conspiracy of so many separate de- 
tachments, each of which was awed by the sense of its own 
weakness, could easily be chec)ced; and the successors of 
Constantine might indulge their, love of ostentation, by issuing 
their orders to one hundred and thirty-two legions, inscribed 
oh the musterroU of their .numerous armies. The remainder 
of their troops was distributed into several hundred cohorts of 
infantry, and squadrons of cavalry. Their arms, and titks, 
and ens^ns, were calculated to inspire terror, and to display 
the variety of nations who marched under the Imperial stan- 
dard. And not a vestige was lefibof that severe. simplicity, 
•which, in the ages of freedom and victory, hud distinguished 
die line of battle of a Roman army from the confused host 
of an Asiatic monarch."' A more particular enumeration, 
drawn from the Notitia^ might exercise the diligence of an 
antiquary ; but the historian will content himself with obseorv- 
ing, that the number of permanent stations or garrisons estab- 
lished on the frontiers of the empire, amounted to five hundred 
and eighty-three ; and that, under the successors of Constan- 
tine, the complete force of the military establishnaent was 
computed at six hundred and forty-five thousand soldiers.^*^ 

**^ Ammiftn ]. xiz. c 2. He observes, (c. 5,) that the desperate sal- 
lies of two Gkkllic legions were lilA a handfm of water tiirown on a 
great eonflagratioa 

^'^ Pandrolus ad Notitiam, p. 96. MdnMHres de rAcad^mie des 
iDflcriptioDS, torn. xzv. p. 491. 

^** Komana acies unius prope formse erat et hominum et armomm 
genere.— Regia acies varia magis multis gentibus dissimilitudiiie ar- 
momm auxUiorumque erat T. Liv. 1. zxxviL c 89» 40. Flaminiu^ 
•veil before the events had compared the army of AntiochuB to a aumiery 
Ib whick the flesh of one vile animal was diversified by the skiH oi Qm 
SMdct. See the life of Flaminiuain Plutaroh. 

"• Agathias, I. ". p. 157, edit LouVre. 

Digitized by 



An effort so prodigioiu suipatted4he wants of a mora andeiit, 
and the faculties (^ a later, period. 

Tn the Tarioos states of society, armies are recruited from 
very different motives. Barbarians are urged by the love of 
war; the citizens of a free republic may be prompted by a 
principle of duty ; the subjects, or at least the noUes, of a 
monarchy, are animated by a sentiment of. honor ; but the 
timid and luxxirious inhabitants of a declining empire must be 
allored into the service by the hopes of profit, or compelled 
by the dread of punishment The resources of the Roman 
treasury were exhausted by the increase of |Miy, by the repe- 
tition of donatives, and by the invention of new emolumenis 
and ittdulgences, which, in the opinion of the provincial youti^ 
might compensate the hardships and dangers of a mititary life. 
Yet, although the stature was lowered, ■ although slaves^ 
least by a tacit connivance, were indiscriminately received into 
the ranks^ the insurmountable difficulty of procuring a regular 
and adequate supply of volunteers, obliged the aaperors to 
adopt more effectual and coercive methods. The lands be^ 
atowed on the veterans, as the free reward of their valo^ 
' were hencelbrward granted under a condition which oontaim 
the first rudiments of the feudal tenures ; that their sons, who 
succeeded to the inheritance, should devote themselves to the 
profession of arms, as soon as they attained the age of man* 
hood; and their cowardly refusal was punished by the loao 
of honor, of fortune, or even of life^'** But as the annual 
growth of the sons of the veterans bore a very small propor*. 
tion to the demands of the service, levies of men were fre. 
quently required from the provinces, and every proprietor wab 
obliged either to take up arras, or to procure a substitute, or to 
purchase his exemption by the payment of a heavy fine. Th^ 
gum of forty-two pieces of gold, to which it was reduce^ 
ascertains the exorbitant price of volunteers, and the reluctance 

i»* YalentiDian (CkxL Theodoa. L vil tit ziil leg. 8) fixes tin 
•Undard at five feet seven inched, about ^y^ feet four iadies and a. 
bal^ English measure. It had fonnerly been fiv^ feet ten inches, an4 
in the best corps, six Roman feet Sed tmio erat amplior mnltitudo 
et plures sequobantur militiam armatam. Yegetius de Re Miliiari 
L i c; T. 

^**' See the two titles, De Yeteranis and De Filiis Yeteranormn, ia 
die seventh book of the Theodosian Code. The age at which their 
Military serrioe was required, varied from twenty-five to sixteen. B 
tte sons of the veterans appeared with a horse, they had a ri^^ht t( 
^rve in the cavalry ; two horses gare them some vui able privil«|fM 

Digitized by 



witli .which Uie govei^iimeiit admiUed of thi» alUMtiativ^^' 
Such was the horror for the profession of a soldier, which had 
affected ihe minds of the degenerate BomanS) that manj of 
the youth of Italy and the piovinoes ehpse to cut off the 
fingers of their right hand, to escape from being pressed into 
the service; and this strange expedient was so commonlT 
practised^ as to. deserve the severe animadversion of the laws,^*" 
and a peculiar name in the Latin language.'** 

The introduction of Barbarians into the Roman .armies 
became every day more universal, more necessary, and more 
fifttai The most daring of the Seythians, of the Goths, and 
of the Germans, who de%hted in war, and who found it more 
profitable to defend than to ravage the provinces, wefe .en- 
rolle'i, not only in the auxiliaries of their respective nations, but 
in the legions themselves, and among the most distinguidied 
of the Palatine troops. As they freely mingled wiUi £e sub* 
jects of the empire, they gradually learned to despise their 
manners, and to imitate their arts. They abjured the implicit 
reverence which the pride of Borne had exacted from their 
ignorance, while they acquired the knowledge and. possession 
of those advantages by which alone she supported her dedin- ' 
ing greatness. The Barbarian soldiers, who displayed any 
military talents, were advanced, without exception, to the most 
important commands ; and the names of the tribunes, of the 

^" Cod. Theod. h viL tit. xiu. leg. 7. According to the historlaa 
Socrates, (eee Godefroy ad loc.,) the same emperor Valens sometimes 
required eighty pieces of gold for a recruit In the following law it is 
fiiintly expressed, that smves shall not he admitted inter optiknas 
lectissimorum militnm turmas. 

i>> The person and property of a Roman knight, who had mutilat* 
ed his two sons, were sold at public auction by order of Augustus. 
(Sueton. in Aug^t c. 27.) The moderation of that artful usurper 
proves, that this example of severity was justified by the spirit of the 
times. Ammianus makes a distinction bietween the effemiDate Ital- 
ians and the hardy Gauls. (L. xv. c 12.) Yet only 16 years after- 

wards, YalenMan, in a law addressed to the priefeot of Gatd, is 
iblieed to enact that these cowardly deserters aniill be bonit alivai 
'Cod. Theod. i viL tit xiii leg. 6.) Their numbers in lUyrieam wer« 

o considerable, that the province complained of a scarcity of reemitB. 

"<* Hiey were called Murei, Mureidua is found in Plautm and 
FostuSy to denote a lasy and cowardly person, who, aooording to Ar- 
•ohiua and Augustin, was under the immediate protection of the god- 
iess MureiiL From this particular instanoe of cowardice, i 

ossd as synonymous to mutilate by the writers of the middle Iistinity. 
Am Xindenbrogius and Valesius ad Ammian. MarcelUn, L zt. e. IS 

Digitized by 


A: D* 8S0-334.] OP TSB roman smpiae. I.H) 

nmiito and dakee, and of thie generals themseives, beltaj a 
fofBign origin, whidi they no longer condescended to dteguise. 
Tb^ were often tintmsted mik the conduct of a war. againt«t 
their oonnttymen ; and though most of th^m preferred the 
ties of allegiance to those of blood, they did not always avoid 
the goilty or at least the suspicion, of holding a treasonable 
:»rreBpaDd6noe with the enemy, of inviting his invasion, or of 
sparing his retreat The camps and the palace of the son of 
Oonstatttine mre governed by the powerAil Action of the 
Franks, who preserved the strictest connection with each other, 
and with their countiy, and who resented every personal 
affiront as a national indignity.^^* When the tyratit Caligula 
was suspected of an intention to invest a very extrs^orditaar)- 
candidate with the consular robes, the sacrilegious proiktiation 
^would have scarcely excited less astoikishment, if, instead of a 
horse, the noblest chieftaiti of Grermany or Britain had been 
the object of his choice. The revolution of three centuries 
had pibduced so remarkable a change in the prejudices of tho 
people, that^ with the publie approbation, Constantine showeil 
his successors the example of bestowing the honors of the 
consulship on the Barbarians, who, by their merit and servicer, 
bad deserved to be ranked among the first of i;he Romans.'*' 
But as these hardy veterans, who had been educated in the 
ignorance or contempt of the laws, were incapal^e of exer* 
cising: any dvil ofiSoes, the powers of the human mind were 
contracted by the irreconcilable separation of talents as well as 
9f professions. The -accomplishea citizens of the Greek and 
Roman republics, whose characters could adapt themselves 
v> the bar, the senate, the camp, or the schools, had learned to 
writ^ to speak, and^to act wjth the same spirit, and with equal 

IV. Besides the magistrates and generals, who at a distance 
from the court diffused their delegated authority over the prov- 
inces and armies, the emperor conferred the, rank of lllus' 

**^^ Malarichus — adhibitis Francis quorum ea tempestate in palatio 
multitudo florebat, erectius jam loquebatur tumultuabatnrque. Am- 
mian. 1. xv. c. 6. 

^*^ Barbaros omnium primus, ad usque fasces auxerat et trabeas 
consiilarea. AmmiaD.-L zx; & 10. Eusehius (in Yit Gonstantin. 1 iv. 
e. 7) and Aureliua Victor seem to confirm the truth of this aaaertion: 
y'ot in the thirtv-two consular Fasti of the reign of Constantine, I 
oannot discover the name of a single Barbarian. I should thereiore 
interpret the liberality of that prmce as relative to the onuMnsBta, 
father than to the office, of the oonaulship. 

Digitized by 



IrtoiM on seven of his more immediate senrants^ to whont 
fidelity he intrusted his safety, or his oouns^ or his treasured 
I. The private apartments of the palace were governed bj a 
favorite eunuch, who, in the language of that age, was styled 
the prwpodttiSy or prsefect <^ the sacred bedchamber. His 
duty was to attend the emperor -in his hours of state, or in 
those of amusement, and to perform about his person all those 
menial services, which can only derive their splendor from 
the influenee of royalty Under a prince who deserved to 
reign, the great chamberlain (for such we may call him) was 
a useful and humble domestic ; but an artful domestie, whc 
improves every occasion of unguarded confid^oe, will insen- 
sibly acquire over a feeble mind that asoendant which harsh 
wisdom and uncomplying virtue can seldom obtain. The 
degenerate grandsons of Theodosius, who were invisible to* 
their subjects, and contemptible to their enemies, exahed the 
praefects of their bed-chamber above the heads of idl the 
ministers of the palace '/^' and even his deputy, the first of 
the splendid train of slaves who waited in the presence, was 
thought worthy to rank before the respectable prooonsuk of 
Greece or Asia. The jurisdiction of the chamberlain was 
acknowledged by the counts, or superintendents, who r^ulated 
the two important provinces of the magnifi<^^uie of the ward- 
robe, and of the luxury of the Imperial table.^^* 2. The 
principal administration of public af&iirs was committed to the 
diligence and abitities of the master of the offices}** He was 
the supreme magistrate of the palace, inspected the disdplioe 
of the civil and military schools, and received appeals from all 
parts of the empire, in the causes which related to that numer- 
ous army of privileged persons, ^^ho, as the servants of the 

"• Uod. Theod. L vL tit 8. 

**• By a very siDguIar metaphor, borrowed from the military char- 
acter of the first ^mperors, the steward of their household was styled 
the count of their camp, (comes castreneis.) Gassiodorus very seri- 
ously represents to him, that his own fame, and that of the empire, 
must depend on the opinion which foreign ambassadors may conceive 
of the plenty and magnificence of the royal table. (Variar. L vi. 
Cpistol 9. 

"* Gutherius (de Officiis Domiis August®, 1. ii c. 20, L iil) has very 
aocm'ately explained the functions of the master of the offices, and the 
constitution of the subordinate serinia. But he vainly attempts, on th« 
most donbtfiil authority, to deduce from the time of the Antonines, oi 
•ven <tf Nero, the origin of a magistrate who cannot he fonod in kistcu^ 
Wfors the reign of Oonstantine. 

Digitized by 


A* D. ddO-^834.J OV THR BQilAM £MPJKK. MS 

awrt, had obUmed for thexiiseives and fiunlKes a right to 
decline the authority of the ordiiuvy judges. The correspood- 
eikce between the prinee and hu subjeetB was managed by 
the four «cnnia, or offiees of thk minister of state. The first 
was appropriated to memoriak, the second to epistles, the 
third to petitions, and the fourth to papers and ordera of a 
miscellaneous kind. Each of these was dbected by an infe- 
rior tnasUr of re^^tahle dignity, and the whole busii^ess waa 
despatched by a hundred and forty-dight sedetaaries, chosen 
for the most part from; the profession of the law^ on account 
of the variety of abstract of reports and references which 
frequently ooearred in the exercise of their several Unctions. 
From a condescension^ which in former ages would have been 
esteemed unworthy, the Roman majesty, a particular secre- 
tary was allowed for the Greek language; and interprota^ 
were appointed to recei^'e the ambassadors of the Barbarians ; 
but the dep«^rtment of foreign a&irs, . which ocmstitutes so 
essential a part of modem p<^cy, seldom diverted the atten- 
tion of the master of the offices. His mind was more 
seriously engaged by tbe general direction of the posts and 
arsenals of the mnpire. There w^e thirty-four dties, fifteen 
in the East, and nineteen in the West, in which regular com- 
panies of workmen were perpetually employed in fabricating 
defensive armor, offensive weapons of all sorts, and military 
engines, which were deposited in the atsetuds, and ocoasioDk 
ally delivered fer the service of the troops. 3. In the course 
of nine centuries, the office of gucsstor had experienced a very 
singular revolution. In the infancy of Borne, two inferioi 
magistrates were annually elected by the people, to relieve 
the consuls from the invidious management of the public treas- 
ure;"* a similar assistant was granted to every proconsul, 
and to every praetor, who exercised a military or provincial 
command; with the extent of conquest, the two quaestora 
were gradually multiplied to the number of four, of e^ht, of 
twenty, and, for a short time, perhaps, of forty ; "* and the 

^** Tacitus (AimaL zl 22) says, that the first quastors were elected 
by the people, sixty-four years after the foundation of the republio; 
but he 18 of opinion, that they had, long before that period, been an- 
oually appointed by the consuls, and evea by the kings. But tfais ol^ 
icure pomt of antiquity is oontested by other -writers. ' 

^** .TadtuB (AmuiL xl 22) seems to coiisider twenty as iiie lughesl 
mmber of quiestors*, and uixm (L xliii p 874) insinuates, that if te 
dictaitoi CiP^nr oiire crent«d forty, it was only to fiieUHaite the pa^w 

Digitized by 


IM ime DXOLiHS and fall [A;I). 3M-4I8^ 

ooUeet ciiizenia ambiiioii&ly Bolkited an offioe which gaVetiiem 
a seat ia the eenate, and a just iiope of obtaining l£e honors 
of the rcftttblic. Whilst Aogiistas aflSscted to maintain the 
freedom of election, he ooDse^ed to aoeept the annual privi- 
lege of reooBsmending, or rather indeed of nominating, a 
certain pN)pQrti<»i of candidates ; and it was his custom to 
select one of these distinguished youths, to read his orations 
or ejMstks in the assemblies of the senate.^** The practice 
of Augustus was imitated by succeeding jmnces ; the occa« 
uonal commission was establuhed as a permanent office ; and ' 
the £avored qusstor, assuming a new and morie illustrious 
character, alone survived l^e suppression of his ancient and 
usekss ooUeagues.^^* As the orati<Nu which he ccmiposed in 
the name of Uie emperor,^^' acquired the force, and, at length, 
the form, of absolute edkts, he was conndered as the repre- 
sentative of the legislative power, the oracle of the council, 
and the original source of the civil jurisprudence. He was 
sometimes invked to take his seat in the supreme ju^cature 
of tbe Imperial consistory, with the Praetorian prsefects, and 
the master of the offices ; and he was frequently requested to 
resolve the doubts of inferior judges: but as be was not 

ment of an immense debt of gratitude. Yet the augmentation which 
he made of prsBtors subsisted under the succeeding reigns. 

*" Sueton. in August c 65, and ToiTent. ad loc. Dion. Cas. ]>. TSS. 

^*^ The youth aiul inezperieaoe of the qusestofrs, who entered on 
that impprtaat office in theur tw^nty^-fifth year, (lips. Exoioa ad Tacit 
L iii.,I).,) engaged Augustus to remove them froni the managemciQit oi 
the treasiuy ; and though they were restored by Claudius^ they seem 
to have b^n finally dismissed "by Kero. (Tacit Annal. xiil 29. Sueton. 
in Aj3g. c. 8d, in Claud, a, 24. Bion, p. 696, 961, <&c. Plin. EpistoL x 
20» et aJUu.) In the proviiices of the Imperial diviston, the place of 
the quffistors was more ably supplied by the procuratorSt (Dion Oas. fk 
707. Tacit in Vit Agricol c 15 ;) or, as they were afterward? called, 
rationales. (Hist August p. 130.) But in the provinces of the senate 
we may still discover a series of qusestors till the reign of Marcus 
AntpDiaoB. (See the Inscriptions of Gniter, the EpisUes of Pliny, and 
a decisive fact in the Augustan History^ p. 64.) From Ulpian .we may 
learn, (Pandect L i. tit IS,) that under the government of the houpe 
of Severus, their provincial administration was abolished ; and in the 
subsequent troubles, the annual or triennial elections ot quiestors must 
have naturally ceased. 

1^* Cum patris nomine et epistolas ipse dictaret, et ecUcta conscrib 
caret, orationesque in senatu recitaret, etiam quaestoris vice. Sueton. 
b Tit c 6. The office must have acquired new dignity, which waa 
oeossiflnally executed by the heir apparent of the empire. Trajav 
intrusted the same care to Hadrian, his questor and cousin. Soe TM 
well, rraslec^nn Camhden, x. xl p. S62 — ^894. 

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h» D« 3^0^34.] 0» THJB RQMAK JBMFIBB. IW 

of^veased^ with a vaiiefy of satodiiuits liattness, his laewe 
md talents were emplc^ed to cnitiTate that digmfied style of 
eloquence^ which, in the eomiption of taste and langoage, 
still preserres the majesty- of the Eonum kws.*^ In some 
respects^ the office of the Imperial quaestor may be compared 
with that of a modem dianoellor; bat the use of a great seal, 
wluoh seems to have been adopted by the ilHterate barbuians, 
waa never introduoed to attest the pivblic acts of the emperors. 
4.. The extraordinary title of count €f the ioered lar^eues 
was bestowed on the. tressurer^neral of the revenue, with 
the intention pethaps of incul(»tii^, that every payment 
flowed from the voluntary bomity of the monaveh. To con- 
ceive the almost infinite detail: of the amraal and daily expense 
of the dvil and military administration in every part of a 
great empire, wonld exceed the powers of the most vigorous 
ima^nation* The actual nocount employed several hundred 
persons, distributed into eleven diffeient offices, which wove 
artfully contrived to examine and control their respective oper- 
ations. The multitude of these agenti had a natural tendency 
to increase ; and it was more than once thought expedient to 
dissmss to their native hcmies the useless supernumeraries, 
who, deserting their honest labors, had pressed with too much 
eagerness into the lucrative profession of the finances.'" 
Twenty-nine provincial receivers, of whom eighteen were 
honored with the title of count, corresponded wit£ the treas- 
urer; and he' extended his jurisdiction over the mines from 
whence the predous metals were extracted, over the minta, 
in which they were converted into the current coin, and over 
the public treasuries of the most important cities, where thej 
were deposited for the service of the state. The- foreign 
trade of the empire was regulated by this minister, who direct- 
ed likewise all the linen and woollen manufactures, in which 
the successive operations of spinning, weaving, and dyeing 
were executed, chiefly by women of a servile condition, for 
the use of the palace and army. Twenty-^ix ^f these insti- 
tutions are enumerated in the West, where the arts had been 

-Terns edicta daturus ; 

Supplicibns responsa. — Oracula regis 
£loquio crevere tuo ; nee digoius unquam 
Majestas meminit sese Romana locutam. 

Claudian in Coosulat liall. Theodor. sa See likewiBe Synuaadiw 
(fipistoL L 17) and Gasdodonis. (Variar. iv. 5.) 
^' Ood. Theod. L vi tit 80. Cod. JuBtiniaa L m tit U. 

Digitized by 


.186 COB DSCUn AND VALL * |A.D.39<Mllli 

more recently introdiioed, aad a siiil larger pioportioii ma^ \m 
allowed for tbe indnstiioiB provinceB Si the East'** 5. Be- 
sides the public revenue, which an absolute monareh might 
•evy and expend acoording to his pleasure, the emperors, vd 
the capaeity of opulent citizens, possessed a very extensive 
pn^)erty, which was administered by the count or treasurer of 
the private estate. Some part had perhapa been the ancaent 
dememes of kings and repuUics; some accessions might be 
ierived from the &milies which were suooessively invested 
with the purple; but the most eonsiderabb portion flowed 
from the impure source of confiscations and forfeitures. The 
Imperial estates were scattered through the provinces, ftom 
Mauritania to Britain ; but the rich and fertile soil of Oappa- 
docia tempted the monarch to acquire in that country his fair- 
est possessions,^'* and eillier Constantino or his successors 
embraced the occasion of justifying avarice by reMgious zeal 
They suppressed the rich temple of Gomana, where the h%b 
priest of the goddess of war supported the dignity of a sove- 
reign prince ; aad they applied to th^ private use the conse- 
crated lands, which were inhabited by sir thousand subjects or 
slaves of the deity and her ministers.^*^ But these were not 
the valuable inhabitants : the plains that stretch from the foot 
. of Mount Argseus to the banks of the Sams, bred a generous 
race of horses, renowned above all others in the andent world 
for their majestic shape and incomparable swiftness. These 
sacred animals, destined for the service of the palace and the 
Imperial, games, were protected by the laws from the profana- 
tion of a vulgar master."* The demesnes of Oappadocia 

**• In the departments of the two counts of the treasury, the east- 
em part of the NotUia happens to be very defective. It may be 
observed, that we had a treasury chest in London, and a gyneceum 
or manu&cture at Winchester. Bi^t Britain was not thought worthy 
either of a mint or of an arsenal Gaul alone possessed three of the 
former, and eight of the latter. 

"* Cod. Theod. L vl tit' xxx leg. 2, and Godefroy ad loc 

"* Strabon. Geogra^ 1. zzii p 809, [edit. Casaub.] The other 
temple of Comana, in Pontus, was a colony from that of Oappadocia, 
L xii. p. 835. The President Des Brosses (see his Saluste, torn, ii p. 
21, [^t Causub/]) conjectures that the deity adored in both Comanas 
was Beltis, the Venus of the east, the goddess of generation; a very 
different being indeed from the goddess of war. 

*** Cod Theod t x. tit vi de Grege Dominico. Godefroy has 
collected every circumstance of antiquity relatiye to the CappadociaD 
horsea. One of the finest breeds, the Palmatian, was the forfeiture of 
a rebel, whose estate lay about sixteen miles from Tyana, near ths 
ffreat road between Constantinople nnd Antiocfa. 

Digitized by 


A. D. 830-334.] or iuk romait empirk. 18) 

weie uupbfttuit ^ough to require the inspeeticn of a count;*** 
offii^rs. of an inli^or rank were statioiied in die other parts (A 
the empire ; and the deputies of the prirate, ad well as iho8<p 
of the pubhcy treasurer were maintaiDed in the exercise of 
their independent functions, and enoouraged to control the 
authority of the pioyincial magistrates.^*' 6, 1. The chosen 
bands of Gav«hry and: infantry, which gdarded the person of 
the emperor, were under the immediate command of the two 
€ounts of the chme^tieg. The whole number consisted of three 
thousand five hundred men, divided into seven sfskools^ or 
troops, of five hilndred each ; and in the East, this honorable 
service wa^ almost entirely appropriated ' to the Armenians. 
Whenever, on . public oeremoniesj they were drawn up in the 
courts apd portjops of the pialaee, their lofty stature, silent 
order, and splendid arms ^ silver and gold, displayed a 
martial pomp not unworthy of the Roman majesty."* BVom 
the seven sdiools t^o. companies of horse and foot were 
selected, of; the protect&ra^ whose advantageous station was 
the hope and reward of tlie most deserving soldiers. Thej 
mounted gii^rd in the interior apartments, and were occasion*, 
ally despatdied into the provinces, to execute with celerit) 
and vigor the orders of their master.^" The counts of tht 
domestics had succeeded to the office of the Praetorian prse* 
fectB ; like the prsefects, they aspired from the service of tht 
palace to the command of armies. V. 

The perpetual intercourse between the court and the prov- 
iijces was facilitated by the constaruction of roads- and the in- 
stitution of posts. But these beneficial establishments wert 
accidentally connected with a pernicious and intolerable abuse. 
Two or three hundred agents or messengers were employed, 
under the jurisdiction of the roaster of the offices, to announce 
the names of tb*-. annual consuls, and the edicts or victories 
of the emperors. They insensibly assumed the license of 

!>• JuBtmian (Novell SO) sabjected the proYince of the count of 
Oappadocia to the immediate authority of the favorite eunuch, who 
presided over the sacred bed-chamber. 

"^ Cod Theod. 1. vi tit xxx. leg. 4, Ac. 

**• Pancirolus, p. 102, 186. The appearance of these military do- 
tnestirs is described in the Latin poem o{ Corippus, de Laudibus Jus- 
tic L iii 161 — 179. p. 419, 420 of tlie Appendix Hist. Byzantin. 
Boiri. m. 

^^' Ammianus Mareellinus, who served so many years, obtame<I 
•olv 4fee rank of a protector. The first ten among tfiesA hononbi« 
KildierB were CliHtsimi, 

Digitized by 


IQi TOE OECIilirA .A2n> FAtJ. [A, D. 9dO»Mft 

reportiug whatever they could observe of t|^ oondiiet eikhev 
of magiati-ates or of private citizens *^ and were«oM considered 
AS the eyes of the monardi,^''' and the aeourgO' of tiie people. 
Under the warm influence of a feeble nsign, the j mixltiplied 
to the incredible number of ton thousand, disdained the mikl 
though frequent admonitions of the laws, and exevcised in the 
profitable management of the posts a rapacious and insolent 
oppression. Th^ offidal spies, who regularly corresponded 
irith the palace, were encouraged by &v<»r and reward, 
anxiously to watch the progress of every tt^easonable design, 
fiom the fiEiint and latent symptoms of disaffection, to the 
actual preparation of an open revolt Their careless or crim- 
irial violation of truth and justice was covered by the conse- 
crated mask of zeal ; and they might securely aim their 
poisoned arrows at the breast either of the guilty or the inno- 
cent, who had provoked their resentment, or refused to pur- 
chase their silence. A faithful subject, of Syria perhaps, or 
of Britain, was exposed to the danger, or at least to the dread, 
of being dragged in chains to the court of Milan or Constan- 
tinople, to defend his life and fortune against the malidous 
charge of these privileged informers. The ordinary adminis- 
tration was conducted by those methods which extreme neces- 
sity can alone palliate; and the defects of evidence were 
diligently supplied by the use of torture.'*^ 

The deceitful and dangerous experiment of the criminal 
quoistum, as it is emphatically styled, was admitted, rather 
than approved, in the jurisprudence of the Romans. They 
applied this sanguinary mode of examination oiily to servile 
bodies, whose sufferings were seldom weighed by tho^e 
haughiy republicans in the scale of justice or humanity ; but 
they would never consent to violate the sacred person of a 
citizen, till they possessed the clearest evidence of his guilt.** 

*'^ Xoaophon, Gyropasd. L viil Brisaon^ de Regno Persioo, L i 
No. 190, p.- 264. The emperors adopted with pleasure tliia Persiaa 
metai^or. ^ 

^'^ For the Agentea in Rehts^ see Ammian. L xv. & 8, L zyl c. 5, L 
xxiL a 7, with the curious aDuotations of Yalesius. Ood. Theod. I 
ri tit xxvil zxviiL zziz. Among the passages collected in the Corn* 
mentary of Godefroy, the most remarkable is ooe from lihaniua, in 
his discourse ooQcemiug the death of Jiiliaa 

103 The Pandects (1. zlviil tit xviil) contain the sentiments of the 
most celebrated civilians on the 8ui]ject of tortwe. They 'strictly 
nnfine it to slaves ; and Ulpian him;»elf is ready t<^ acknivwtBdgis, tWl 
Bes est fragilis, et periculosa, ct quae veritateui &llat 

Digitized by 


A. D. 930~3d4.1 OF tint RO^AK Eifjnftlt. I9f 

The aiinals of tyranny, firom the reign of Tiberias to that of 
Domitiftn, drcumstantially relate the executions of manj 
mnooeat yiotims; but, as long as the fiiinteet remembrance 
waa lupt alive of. the nations^ freedom and honor, the last 
hours <k a Roman were secured from the danger of ignomin- 
ions torture.'** The conduct of the provincial magbtrateg 
was not, however, related by the practice of the city, or the 
s^ct maxinis of the dvilians. They found the use of torture 
established not only among the slaves of oriental despotism, 
but among tlie Macedomanft, who obeyed a limited monarch ; 
among the Rhodians, who flourished by the liberty of com- 
merce ; and even among the sage Athenians, who had asserted 
and adorned the dignity of human kind.**^ The acquiescence 
of the provincials encouraged their governors to acquire, or 
perhaps to usurps a discretionary power of employing the rack, 
to extort from vagrants or plebeian criminals^ the confession of 
their guilt, till they insensibly proceeded to ccmfeund the dis- 
tinction of rank, and to disregard the privileges of Roman 
dtazens. The apprehensions of the subjects urged them to 
soMcit, and the interest of the sovereign engaged him to grant, 
a variety of special exemptions, which tacitly allowed, and 
even authorized, the general use of torture. They protected 
ail persons of illustrious or honorable rank, bishops and their 
presbyters, professors of the liberal arts, sokliers and their 
flimtlies, municipal officers, and their posterity to the third 
generation, and all children under the age of puberty/** But 
a fatal maxim was introduced into the new jurisprudence of 
tiie empire, that in the case of treason, which included every 
ofience that the subtlety of lawyers could derive from a 
hostile hiterUion towards the prince or republic,*** all privileges 

^ ^"* In the conspiracy of Piso against Nero, Epicbaris (libertina mu- 
lier) was the only person tortured ; the rest were intacti tarmentis. It 
would be superfluous to add a weaker, and it would be difficult to find 
a stronger, example. Tacii AnnaL xv, 67. 

i^« Dioendum . . . de Institutis Atheniensium, Rhodiorum, doo- 
tissimorum Jiominum, apud quos ^tiam (id quod acerbissimum est) 
tiber^ dvesque torquentur. Cicero, Partit brat c 84. We may 
learn from the trial of Philotas the practice of the Macedonians. (Dh 
odor. SicuL L xviL p. 604. Q.'Curt 1. vL c 11. 

"* Heinecdus ^Element. Jur. OiviL part vU. p. 81) has colleetcd 
tiiese exemptions into one view. 

*•• This definition of the sage Ulpian (Pandect i zlyiii tit it.) 
seems to have been adapted to the court of Oaracalla, rather : than te 
Ikrt of Alexander Seyenis. See the Codes of Theodosiiis and Jiu* 
luiian ad leg. Juliam majestatia 

Digitized by 



were'suftpended, and all condifioas urere reduced to the snmQ 
jgDomiuioufi level. As the safety of the emperor was arow- 
edly preferred to every coiisidenition of justice or. humamty, 
the dignity of age and the tenderness of youth. wa» alike 
exposed to the most cruel tortures; and thetern^s loi a 
malicious information, which might select them as the accom- 
plices, or even as the witnesses, perhaps, of an imaginary 
crime, perpetually hung over the heads of the principal diti- 
sens of the Roman world.^'^ 

These evils, however terrible they may appear, were con- 
lined to the smaller number of Roman subjects, whose dange^ 
ous situation was in some degree compensatedby the enjoyment 
of those advantages, either of nature or of fortune, which 
exposed them- to the jealousy of the monarch. The obscure 
millions of a great empire have much less to dnead from the 
cruelty than from the avarice of their masters, and their 
humble happiness is principally aflfected by the grievance of 
excessive taxes, which, gently pr^ng on the wealthy, de- 
scend with accelerated weight on the meaner and more indi- 
gent classes of society. An ingenious philosopher '"* has 
calculated the universal measure of the public impositions by 
the degrees of freedom and servitude ; and ventures to assert, 
that, according to an invariable law of nature, it must always 
increase with the former, and diminish in a just proportion to 
the latter. But this reflection, whidi would t^nd to alleviate 
the miseriea of despotism, is contradicted at least by the histoiy 
of the Roman empire; which accuses the same princes of 
despoiling the senate of its authority, and the provinces of their 
wealth. Without abolishing all the various customs and 
duties on merchandises, which are imperceptibly discharged 
by the apparent choice of the purchaser, the policy ol Con- 
■tantine and his successors preferred a simple and direct mode 
of taxation, more congenial to the spirit of an arritrary 
govern men t.*** 

^'^ Arcadius Charisius is the oldest lawyer quoted in the Pi.udccis 
to justify the uDiversal practice of torture in all cases of treaM;:ji ; but 
this maxim of tvranny, which is admitted bv Ammianus (L xi- c. 12) 
with the most respectful terror, is enforced hj several lawfvs>f th« 
successors of Constantine. See Cod Theod 1. iz. tit zxxv. i mn 
jesiatis crimine onmibus sBqua est conditio. 

>«*. Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, 1. xiL a 13. 

^** Mr. Hume (Essays, vol. i. p. 389) has seen this important tnjA 
vrith some degree of perplexity 

Digitized by 


A-D. 390-334.] or tua aoman bmpos. 141 

The name and use of the iitdicUotu"* which serv* to 
Mcoiaki the chionology of the middle ages, were derived 
from the regv^ practice of the Roman tributes.'*^ The 
emperor subeianbed with his own hand, and in purple ink, the 
lolemn edict, or indietion, which was fixed up in ^e principal 
aky of each, diocese, during two months previous to the first 
day of September. And by a very easy connection of ideas, 
the w<»*d indieiion was transferred to the measure of tribute 
which , it prescribed, and to the annual term which it allowed 
for. the. payment I'his general estimate of thi supplies was 
proportioned to the real and imaginary wants of the state ; but 
as often as the expense exceeded the revenue, or the revenue 
tell short of the computation, ah additional tax, under the name 
of supetindictum, was imposed on the people, and the most 
valuable attribute of soverdgnty was communicated to the 
Praetorian prefects, who, on some occasiocts, were permitted 

S provide for the unforeseen and extraordinary exigencies of 
e public service. The execution of these laws (which it 
would be tedious to pqnsue in their minute and intricate detail) 
consisted of two distinct operations : the resolving the general 
imposition into its constituent parts, which were assessed on 
the • provinces, themties, and the individuals of the Roman 
worid; and the collecting the separate contributions of the 
individuals, the cities, and the provinces, till the accumulated 
sums were pojured into the Imperial treasuries. But as the 
account between the monarch and the subject was perpetually 

"® The cycle . of indictions, which may be traced as high as the 
reign of Gonfltantios, or perhaps of hb father, Oonstantine, is still 
employed by the Papal court ; but the oommencement of the year has 
been very reasonably altered to the first* of January. See rArt de 
Verifier. lea Dates, p. zi.; and Dtctionnaire Raison. de la Diploma- 
tique, tom. ii p. 25 ; two accurate treatises, which come from the 
workshop of the Benedictines.* 

"^ The first twenty-eip^ht titles of the eleventh book of the Theo- 
'losian Code are filled with tlie circumstantial regulations on the im- 
oortant subject of tributes; but they suppose a clearer knowledge of 
tiindamental principles than it is at present in our power to attain, 

* It does not appear that the establishment of the indiction is to be ai-i 
tribated to Cktnstaatine : it existed before he had been created Augustus at 
Rome, and the remission granted by him to the city of Aaton is the proof. 
He would not Imve ventured while only Cm&ar^ and under the necessity 
9f coortixig popular favor, to establish sadi an odious impost Aurelias Vio* 
sx and Lactantius agree in designating Diocletian as the aadior of this 
dospotic institution.. Aur. Vici. de Oaes. c. 39. Lactant de MorL Pera c- 7 

Digitized by 


149 ins DBCLiNK AND rxix [A. L>. dfd- 4184 

open, aod <ib tUu ivaewal of the demand aotieipated the per- 
fect diachai^ ok' the pfeoediDg oUigattoo^ the weighfy ntoi- 
ebine of the fiaftuoea wa& moved bj the same hands to«md 
the circle of its yearly revoltttaoD. Whatever was bKmonble 
or importADt in the administatioii of the revenue, was oom- 
UEiitted to the wisdom <^ the prieisati, and their provincul 
representatives; the lucrative functions wore claimed hy a 
ofowd of subordinate offioers, some of whom d^nded on the 
treasurer, others on the governor of the province ; and wlio, 
in the inevitaHe eonflicto of a perj^ed jurisdiction, had &e- 
auent opportunities of disputing with each other the sp<Hls of 
the people. . The laboiious offices, which could be pvoduetive 
<^7 of envy and reproach, ci expense and danger, were 
imposed on the Deemiom, who £onned the corporatbns of 
the cities, and whom the severity ci the Imperial laws had 
condemned to sustain the burdens of civil sodety/" The 
whole landed property of the empire (without excepting ihm 
patrimonial estates ol the monarch) was the object of ordinary 
taxation ; and every new purchaser contEacted the obligations 
of the former proprietor. An accurate eentu9^"* or survey, 
was the only eqnitaUe mode of asoertaining the proportion 
which every citiasn should be obl%ed to contribute for the 
public service ; and from the well-known period of the indic- 
tbns, there is reason to believe that this difficult and expensive 
operation was repeated at the regular distance of fifteen 

"^ The title eoneeniioff the Decurions (L zil tit L) is the most 
ample in the whole Theodosian Code ; sinoe it contains not less tfaap 
one hundred and ninety-two distinct laws to ascertain the duties and 
privileges of that useful (Mrder of dtitens.* 

"* Habemus enim et hominom nnmerum qui dekti sunt, et agriinr 
modum. Eumenius in Panegyr. Vet viil 6. See Cod. Theod. L xiiL 
tit X. zi^ with Godefiroy'fi Coounentary. 

* The Decnrioiu were cliamd with assesBing, according' to the oensng of 
property prepared hy the tabmarii, the payment due from each proprietor, 
l^is odums office was aathoritalively imposed on the richest dtlxens of eadi 
town ; they had no salaiv, and all their compensation wai, to be. exempt 
from oertam corporal punishments, in case they should hare incuired theau. 
The Decurionate was the rain of all the rich. Henoe they tried every way 
of avoiding this dangenms honor ; they concealed tiiemsetvesi they entered 
into milita^ service f hut their efibru were unaTaiUng; thi^ were seized, 
they were compelled to become Deeorions, and the dread inspired by tbif 
title was termed Impieiy^^-rQts 

The I>ecwions were nutoally respouMblo ; they were obliged to undef* 
take for pieces of grovnd abandoned by their owners on aoceunt of the pru*- 
tore of the taxesk and. finally, to make up all defick^ncies. Savigny. 9m 
chichte des Rom. Recfats, i. 25.~M. 

Digitized by 


A* D. daO'334.] QV TBU ROUAK EMPntX. 14t 

jrean. The lands Vera measoxed by sttrVejvns, who wm 
Beat injU) the. proiraaces; their nature, wh^^iher amble or paa- 
iax% or yineyarda ^r woods, was distinctly rep6rted ; and an 
estinoH^ was made of their common valne from the average 
piodnca c^ fiiier years. The nmdbers of slaves and of dattle 
eonstitttted an essential part of the report ; ail oath was admin- 
istered to the proprietors,, which bound them to disclose the 
true state of their affiiirs ; and their attempts to prevaricate, or 
elude the intention of the legislator, were severely watched, 
and pttnished as ajsapital crime, which included the dovible 
guilt of .treason and sacrikge.^^* A large portion of the 
tribute wad paid, in money; and of the current coin of the 
empire, gold alone could be legally aco^rted."* The re- 
mainder of the taxes, aoeonding to the proportions determined 
by the annual indiotion^ was finished in a manner still more 
direct^ and QtiU more oppresmve. According to the difierent 
nature of lands, their red produce in the vanons articles of 
wine or oi}, ^m or bariey, wood or iron, was trtttasported by 
the labor or at the expense of the provincials* to the Imperisd 
magazines, from whence they were occasionally distributed, 
for Uie iV9e of the court, of the army, and of the two capitals, 
Rome and Ooo8Jl<antiQople. The commissioners of the revenue 
were so .frequ^ly obliged to make considerable purchases, 
that they were strictly prohibited from allowing any compen- 
sation, or from: receiving in money the value of those sup- 

"* Siquis sacrilege vitem hXce succiderit, aut feracium ramorum 
fcBtus hebetavcrit, quo delinet fidem Censnum, et mentiatur callide 
paupertatis ingenium, mox delectus capitale subibit esdtium, ct bona 
ejus in Fisci jura migrabunt God. Theod L ziil tit xL leg. 1. Al- 
though this law is not without its studied obscurity, it is, however 
clear enough to prove the minuteness of the inquisition, and the dis* 
proportion of the penalty. 

"* The astonishment of Pliny would have ceased. Equidem miror 
P. R. victis gentibus argentum semper imperitasse non aurum. Hist 
Natur. xxjuii 15. 

^ The proprietors were not charged with the expenise of this transport^ 
in the provmces situated on the sea-shore or near the great rivers, there 
were, compaiqes of hoatmen, and of masters of vessels, who had this com*. 
vaae^oot apd foraush^ the means of transport at their own expense. In re- 
tam, they were themselves exempt, altogether, cr in part, from the indiction 
and other imposts. . They had certain privileges; particalar ie^;iilationa 
determined their rights and ohiigations. (Cod. Tneod. 1. xiii. tit. v. ix.) The 
transports hy land were made in the same manner, hy the intervention of a 
Mivih^ed company called Bai*tiigB; the members were called 6a«iitagarii 
Cod. Thcod, 1 viii.'tit. v.— G. 

Digitized by 


t%% TBI DSCUNB AND FALL [A. D. da0«-984 

plies wliioh were exacted in kind. In the primitive simplMiv 
of small communities, this method may be well adapted to ixt 
(ect the almost voluntary offerings of the pec^le ; but it is ai 
once susceptible of the utmost latitude, aiKl of tiie utmost 
strictness, which in a corrupt and absolute monarchy must 
introduoe a perpetual contest between the power of oppression 
and the arts of fraud."* The agriculture of the Roman pror- 
inces was insensibly ruined, and, in the progress of despotism, 
which tends to disappoint its own pur}>use, the emperors wer*" 
obliged to derive some merit from the foi^veaess of debts, 
or the remission of tributes, which their subjects were utterly 
incapable of paying. According to the new division of 
Italy, the fertile and happy province of Campania, the scene of 
the early victories and of the delicious retirements of the citizens 
of Borne, extended between the sea and the Apennine, from the 
Tiber to the Silarus. Within sixty years after the death of 
Oonstantine, and on the evidence of an actual survey, an ex- 
emption was granted in fovor of three hundred »nd thirty 
thousand English acres of desert and uncultivated land ; which 
amounted to one eighth of the whole surfiice of the province. 
As the footsteps of the Barbarians had not yet been seen in 
Italy, the cause of this amazing desolation, which is recorded in 
^he laws, can be ascribed only to the administration of the Ro- 
man emperors.*" 

Either from design or from accident, the mode of assess- 
ment seemed to unite the substance of a land tax with the 
forms of a capitation."* The returns which were sent of 
every province or district, expressed the number of tributary 

"' Some precautions were taken (see Cod. Theod. L xL tit ii. and 
Cod Justinian. 1. x. tit xxvil leg. 1, 2, 8^ to restrain the magistrates 
from the abuse of tlieir authority, either m the exaction or in the pur- 
chase of com : but those who had learning enough to read the orations 
of Cicero against Yerres, (iii de Frumento,) might instruct themselves 
in all the various arts of oppression, with regard to the weif ht^ the 
price, the quality, and the carriage. The avarice of an umet^ered 
governor would supply the ignorance of precept or precedent 

"^ Cod Theod. 1 xl tit xxviiL leg. 2, published tiie 24th of March, 
A. D. 895, by the emperor Honorius, only two months after the death 
of his £Either,llio<>do8ius. 'He speaks of 628,042 Roman jugera^ which 
I have . reduced to the English measure. The jugerum contained 
28,800 square Roman feet 

*'• Qodefroy (Cod. Theod. torn. vi. p. 116) argues with weight and 
learning on the subject of the capitation ; but while he explains tke 
eapvf^ as a sliare or measure of property, he too absolutely ezdudw 
tas idea of a personal assessment 

Digitized by 


A« D. 380-334.] ojr th» itoMAK fiicriiui. IM 

sttljeetB, and the amount of the pnUic impositbiifl. The ki^ 
ter of these si^ms was divided by the former ; and the estimatei 
that such a prorince oontsdned so many capita, or heads of 
tribute; and that eachhecui was rated at sudi a price, was 
universally received, not only in the popular, but even in the 
legal computation. The value of a tributary head must have 
varied, according to many aoddental, or at least fluctuating 
circumstances ; but some knowledge has been preserved of a 
very curious hct, the more important, since it relates to one of 
the richest provinces of the Kbman empire, and which now 
flourishes as the most splendid <^ the European kingdoms. 
The rapacious ministers of Oonstantius had exhaust^ the 
wealth of Gaul, by exacting twenty-five pieces of gold for the 
annual tribute of every head. The humane policy of his suc^ 
cessor reduced the capitation to seven pieces.^^* A moderate 
proportion between these opposite extremes of extraordin^ 
oppression and of transient indulgence, may therefore be fixed 
at sixteen pieces of gold, or about nine pounds sterling, the 
common standard, perhaps, of the impositions of Ganl.^'* 
But this calculation, or rather, indeed,- the facts from whence 
it is deduced, cannot fail of su^esting two difficulties to a think- 

^ "* Quid profuerit (JiUiamu) anhelaQtibus eztrem& pcDurU Gallis, 
hinc maxime claret, quod priimtus partes eas ingressus, pro capitibu^ 
singulis tributi nomine vicenoe quinos aureos reperit flagitari ; disce- 
dens vero septenos tantum numera universa complentes. Amrnian. L 
xvl c. 6. 

^^'^ In the calculation of any sum of money under Constantino and 
his successors, we need only refer to the excellent discourse of Mr. 
Qreaves on the Denarius, for the proof of the following principles ' 
1. That the ancient and modem Roman pound, containing 5266 grainii 
of Troy weight, is about one twelfth lignter than the £^lish poimd, 
which 13 composed of 5760 of the same grams. 2. That the pound of 
^old, which had once been divided into forty-eight aureif was at this 
kime coined into seventy -two smaller pieces of the same denomiDation. 
8. That five of these aurei were the legal tender for a pound of sUver, 
ind that consequently the pound of gold was exchanged for fourteen 
pounds eight ounces of silver, according to the Boman, or about thir- 
teen pounds according to the Euglish weight 4. That the English 
pound of silver is coined into sixty-two shillings. From these ele> 
ments we may compute the Roman pound of gold, the usual meth- 
od of redconing large sumS; at forty pounds sterling, and we may 
fix the currency of ihe aweu9 at somewhat more than eleven 

* 8ee> likewise, a Dissertation of M. Letronnc, " Consld^tions 04 
otodes snr TEvaltiation des Monnoie^ Grecgner et Romainet " Paris, 1817 

VOf.. IT. G 

Digitized by 


ill rm p^vuif^ AKo : JTAu [A< p. ^39T43f. 

illg iQind, wjbowill ][^ at onoe surprised by. tb^^!W«{«^vaiid 
bj the enormiij/, Qi th^. cftpits^On* : Aa.atten^t to -explajii 
ihem may perh^ re^ct some, light on the ibterestiDg aubjiect 
of the finances of t];ie decliping empire. : 

I. It is obviousy that, as long as the imoi^utable constiiutiou 
of human natture produces, and n^ntains so unequal a division 
of property, the most numerous part of the community would 
be. deprived of their subsistenc^,.by the. equal. a^sessmeut of a 
tax fiom which the soYerejgn; would derive a. very trifling reye- 
nue* : Such 9idee4 might bq.. the thooQr, of tbe£pmaQ..c»pita' 
tioB; but in the pi;aotiee, thi^ unjust equality wast oo.lQOger 
felt, as the tribute was collected on the principle. <^ a reoZ, not 
of a personal impositioiu* Several indigent d.ti?^u3 cok^t^ib- 
uted to compose a single head^ or .share pf taxation ; :wJiile the 
wealthy provindal* iu proportion to his'&rtu9e, alo^ i^epre- 
sented several of tbose im^igiiiary beings. lu a poetical 
request^ addressed to ojie of Jbe last and mosjL deserving of 
the Roman. princes who reigned in Q^vl, Sidonius ApoUij&aris 
personifies his. tribute, under the figure of a triple, monsteri tl^ 
Geryoo of the Girecian fables, and entreats the new Hencules 
that he would most. graciously be pleaded to save his li& by 
cutting off three of his heads.^^' The fortune of Sidonius far 

"^ Geiyones DOS esse put% moQstrwque tributum. 
Hie cofttto ut vivam, ta goihi toUe ^no. 

SidoD. ApolUnar. Carm. xiii 

The reputation of Father Sirmond led me to ei^pect more satiiafEic* 
tion i^ao 1 have foimd in his note (p. 144) on this remarkable tMssage, 
The words, siio Yel morttm nomine, betray the perplexity of the com- 
mentator. _^__ 

* Two masterly disflertations of M. Sayigny, in. the Mem. of the Berlin 
Academy (ISSfi and 1623) have thrown new light on the taxation system 
of the Empire. Gibbon, according to M. Sovigny, is mistaken in siii>i>o6iug 
that there was* but one Idnd of capitation tax; tibere was a land tax,- and a 
oapitation tax, striotly so called. The laad tax was, in its operation, a 
Ijroprietor's or landlord's tax.- But, besides this, there was a direct capita- 
tion tax on all who were, not possessed of landed property. This tax 
dates &om the time, of the Roman conqniests ; its amount is not clearly 
known. Gmdnal exemptions released different persons and classes from 
tibis tax. One edict exempts pmnters. In Syria, all under twelve or fboT' 
teen, or above siity-'five, were :exempted ; at a later period, all niider 
tw^ty, aod all unmarried .females; stiSl later, aft tiadisr tSFvenQr^fire^ 
widows and, nuns, soldiersy yeteranl and derid-^whole dioceses, that of 
Thrace and niyricnm. tender Galerins and Licinins, the plebs m?bfina 
became exempt ; though this, peiittps, was only an ordinance for the Sast 
By degrees, howefver, the exemption was extended to ajl the'lnbabitaDtf 
«f to^f^s ;: and as it was. striotlj capitatio plebeia, from w)noh all possessors 
wwe exempted it fell at length altagethor on the coloni and agricoltaral 

Digitized by 


A. D. 33(^334.] or the rokan bmpibb; 14) 

tfioeeded tb« customary wealth of a poet ; but if he had pw^ 
sued the allusion, he mi^ht have painted many of the Gallie 
nobles with the hundred heads of the deadly Hydra, spread- 
ing bv€ir the&ce of the country, and devouring the bubstanoe 
of a hundred fftniilies. IE. The difficulty of allowing an 
annual sum of about nine pounds sterling, even for Hie av:. 
emg^ of the capitation of Gaul, may be rendered more evi- 
dent by the comparison of the present state of the same 
country, as it is now governed by me absolute monarch of an 
mdtstrious, wealthy, and affectionate people. The tases of 
France cannot be magnified,' dther by fear or by flattery, 
beypdd the annual amount of eighteen millions sterling, which 
ought perhaps to be shared among four and twenty millions 
of inhabitants/"" Seven millions of these, in this capacity of 
Cithers,. or brothers, or husbands, may discharge the obliga- 
tions of the remaining multitude of women and childrien; yet 
the equal proportion of eadx tributary subject will scarcely 
rise above fifiy shilfitigs of bur money, instead of a proportion 
almost four tinaes as considerable, which was regularly imposed 
on tiieir Gallic ancestors. The reason of this difference 
may be found, not so much in the relative scarcity or plenty 
of gold and silver, as in the different state of society, in 
ancient Gaul and in modern France. In a country where 
.... — .1 I ■ — ■ ■ I ' - •■•• ■ ■ 

IB' This aasertion, however formidable it may eeem, is founded on 
the original reg^ters of births, deaths, and marriages, colleeted by 
public authority, and now deposited in the Controlee General at Paris. 
The annual average of births throughout the whole kingdom, taken in 
five years, (from Vl^O to 1'7'74, both mclusive,) is 479,649 boys, and 
449,269 girb, in all 928,918 childrea Tlie provmce of Frendi Hai- 
nault alone furnishes 9906 births ; and we are assured, by an actual 
tmumeration of the people, annually repeated from the year 1778 to 
the year 1776, that upon an average, Hainault contains 257,097 in- 
habitants. By the rules of fair analpgy, we might infer, that the or- 
dinary proportion of annual births to the whole people, is about 1 to 
26 ; and that the kingdom of France contains 24,15 1»868 persons of 
both sexes and of eyery age. If we content ourselves with the more 
moderate proportion of 1 to 25, the whole population will amount to 
28,222,966. From the diligent researches cl the French Government, 
(which are not unworthy of our own imitation,) we may hope to obtain 
a stiBl greater degree of certainty on this important subject* 

slaves. These were regist^^d in the same cataster (capita8tram),with the 
land tax. It was paid by the proprietor, who raised it agam from his ooloni 
and laborers. — M, 

* On no subject has so much valuable information been collected since the 
t«»e of Gibbon, as the statistics of the diflferent countries of Qurapo hat 
arach is still wanting as to our own—M . 

Digitized by 


148 THB DECLINE AXB FALL [A. D.330-334« 

personal freedom is the pnvilege of every subje«t, the whok 
mass of taxes, whether they are levied on poperty or on con- 
sumption, may be fairly divided among the whol^ body of the 
nation. But the far greater part of the lands of ancient Gaul, 
as well as of the other provinces of the Roman world, were 
cultivated by slaves, or by peasants, whose dependent oondi* 
tion was a less rigid servitude.'^ In such a state the poor 
were maintained at the expense of the masters who enjoyed 
the fruits of their labor ; and as the rolls of tribute were filled 
only with the names of those citizens who possessed the 
means of an honorable, or at least of a decent subsistence, 
the comparative smallness of their numbers explains arid jus- 
tifies the high rate of their capitation. The truth of this asser- 
tion may be illustrated by the following example : The JSdui, 
one of the most powerful and civilized tribes or cities of Gaul, 
occupied an extent of territory, which now contains about ^ve 
hundred thousand inhabitants, in the two ecclesiastical dio- 
ceses of Autun and Nevers ; "* and with the probable acces- 
sion of those of Ch&lons atid Ma^ori,^*^ the population would 
amount to eight hundred thousand souls. In the time of 
Constantine, the territory of the JSdui afforded no miore than 
tweuty-five thousand kecuis of capitation, of whom seven 

*•• Cod. Theod. L v. tit ix, x. xl Cod. Justinian. L xi. tit Ixiil 
Culoni appellantur ^ui conditionem debent genitali solo, propter agri- 
culturum sub dominio possessorum. Augustin. de Civitate Dei, I 
X. c. i. 

'** The ancient jurisdiction of (Augustodunum) Autun in Burgundy, 
the capital of the .^ui, comprehended the adjacent territory of (Nwuh 
dunum) Nevers. See D'Anville, Notice de rAncienne Oaule, p. 491. 
The two dioceses of Autun and Nevers are now composed, the former 
of 610, and the latter of 160 parishes. The registers of births, taken 
during eleven years, in 476 parishes of the same proyince of Burgun- 
dy, and multiplied by the moderate proportion of 25, (see Messanoe 
iCecherches sur la Population, p. 142,) may authorize us to assign an 
average number of 656 persons for each parish, which being again 
multiplied by the 'T'lO parishes of the dioceses of Nevers and Autun, 
will produce the sum of 605,120 persons for the extenf of country 
which was once possessed by the JEduL 

"* We might derive an additional supply of 301,750 inhabitants 
from the dioceses of Ch&lons (CabUlowmn) and of Mayon, {Mati9co,) 
i«ince they contain, the one 200, and the other 260 parishes. This 
accession of territory might be justified by very specious reasons, 
i. ChSlons and Ma^on were undoubtedly within the original jurisdic- 
lion of the MdivL (See D'Anville, Notice, p. 187, 443.) 2. In ^ 
Notitia of Gaul, they are enumerated not as Civitateu, but merely a* 
Cattra. 8. They do not appear to have been episcopal «»ats befivt 

Digitized by 


A. D. 880-^34.] OF THS ROMAK BMPIRE. Ui 

UuHMand w«i^ djschai^ged by that prince from the ititolefibbk 
weight of tribute.'** A just analogy would seem to coun* 
Immnoe the opiiiion of an ingenious historian,"^ that the ^ree 
and tributary citizens did not surpass the nuntber of half a 
million ; and if, in the ordinary administration of goYemment^ 
tkeir annual payments may be computed at about four mil- 
liODs and a hidf of our money, it would appear, that althongh 
the share of eacb individual was four times as considerable, n 
fourth part only of the modem taxes of France was levied on 
the Imperial province of Gau}. The exactions of Constan- 
tius may be calculated at seven millions sterling, which were 
reduoeil to two millions by the humanity or the wisdom of 

But this tax, or capitation, on the proprietors of land, would 
have suffered a rich and numerous class of free citizens to 
escape. With the view of sharing that species of wealth 
which is derived from art or labor, and which exists in money 
or in merchandise, the emperors imposed a distinct and per- 
sonal tribute on the trading part of their subjects.'** Some 
exemptions, very strictly confined both in time and place, 
were allowed to the proprietors who disposed of the produce 
of their own estates. Some indulgence was granted to the 
profession of the liberal arts : but every other branch of com- 
mercial industry was affected by the severity of the law. 
The honorable merchant of Alexandria, who imported the 
gems and spices of India for the use of the western world ; 
the usurer, who derived from thd interest of money a silent 
and ignominious profit ; the ingenious manufacturer, the dil- 
igent mechanic, and even the most obscure retailer of a 
sequestered village, were obliged to admit the officers of the 
revenue into the partnership of their gain ; and the sovereign 
of the Roman empire, who tolerated the profession, consented 
to share the infamous salary, of public prostitutes.} As this 

the fifth and sixth centuries. Yet there is a passage in Eumeniua 
(Panegyr. Vet viil T) which very fordhly deters me from extending 
the territory of the Mdai, in the reign of Constantine, along the beaik« 
tiful hanks of the navigable Sadne.* 

"• Euraenius in Panegyr Vet viii. 11. 

*•* L'AbW du Boa, Hist. Critique de la M. F. torn. I p. 121 

*•• See Cod. Theod. 1. xiii. tit. i. and iv. 

* In this passage of Enmenins, Savigny supposes the original number to 
Inve been 32,000 : 7000 being discharged, there remained 25,000 ]iablc to the 
trihate. See Mem. quoted alx)vc. — M. 

t The emperor Theodosius put an end, by a law. to this disgraeeM 

Digitized by 


tftO TBB OKOLINfi AVD TALL [ A. D. 380 SS4 

general tax upon industry waa ooUeeted every feurth year^li; 
was styled the Luatral Conirihutkn : and the hjstonan Zosi^ 
mus'** laments that the approach of the &tal period wat 
announced by the tears said terrcMs of the c^zeoa^ who wsoit 
often compelled by the impending sooufge* to. eeibraoethe 
most abhorred an<| unnatural methoda of procuring the sum at' 
which their property had been assessed. The testimony of 
Zosimus cannot iadeed be justified from the ckarge of passioh 
and prejudice; but, from the nature of thia tribute it seems 
reasonaUe to conclude, that it was arbitrary in the diatribu-' 
tion, and extremely ri^ous in the mode of collecting. The 
secret wealth of tcommert)et and the precarious profits of art 
or labor, are susceptible only of a discretionary valuatioB^ 
which is seldom disadvantageous to the interest of the treas- 
ury ; and as the perscm of the t^^er supplies the wf^nt of a 
vi&nble and permanent security, the payment of the imposition,, 
whichyin the case of a land tax, may be obtained by the 
seizure of property, can rarely be extorted by any- other 
means than those of corporal punishments. The cruel treat- 
ment of the insolvent debtors of the state, is ^tte^ted, and waa 
perhaps mitigated by a very humane ediat, of Ocmstantine, 
who, disclaiming the use of racks and of scourges, allots a 
spacious and airy prison for the place of their confinement.^** 

These general taxes were imposed and levied by the abso* 
lute authority of the monarch ; but the occasional offerings of 
the coronary gold still retained the name and semblanoe of 
popular consent. It was an ancient custom that jthe allies of. 
the republic, who ascribed their safety or deliverance to the 
success of the Roman arms, and even the dties of Italy, who 
admired the virtues of their victorious general, adorned the 
pomp of his triumph by their voluntary gifls of crowns of 
gold, which after the ceremony were consecrated in the 

'^' Zosimus, L ii. p. 116. There is })robably as much passion and 
prejudice in the attack of Zosimus, as in the elaborate defence of the 
memory of Constantine by the zealous Dr. HOweU. Hist of the 
World, vol. ii. p. 20. 

"* Cod. Theod. L xi. tit vii. leg. 3. 

Bonrce of revenne. (Gode€ -ad Cod. Theod. xiii. tit i. c. 1.) But beJbra 
he depdyed himself of it, he made sure of some way of replacing this de- 
ficit A rich patridan, Florentius, indignant at this legahaed ucentioas- 
ness, had made representations on the subject to the emperor. To iadvof 
him to tolerate it no longer, he offered his own property to supply ih« disk 
bmtkm of the revenue. The emperor had the baseness to accept hia ofiflb 

Digitized by 


A. D. 880-834.] o9 thzuoiouls XMPnuK' ISl 

tenmb o£Japiter,io vemaitf a laiting monumait of fkii gloiy 
to mtarorMgeB. The propreas of ml and flatteir soon midti*< 
piled the . immber, and iHereased tbe sun^ of these popular 
doaatkas; and iebe .triumph of Oaeaar was enriched with two 
Uionsahd eight hundred and twenty-two massy erown^, who9e 
w^ght lupoqnled to twenty thousand four hundred and foniL 
teen pounds o£ gold. This treasure was immediately melted 
down by the prudent dictator, who was satisfied thiit it would 
be.moroeervioeable to his soldiers than to the gods : his exam^ 
pie was. imitated by his sucoessois ; and the custom was 
introduced of exchanging these . splendid ornaments for the 
more aoeeptable present of th^ onrrent gold coin of the em» 
pile.**'* The spontaneous offering was at length exacted as 
the debt of duty ; and instead of being confined to the occasion 
of a triumph, it was supposed to be granted by the several 
cities and provinces of the monarchy,. as often as the emperor 
condescended to announce his accession, his consulship, the 
birth of a son, the creation of a C«Bsar, a victory over the Bar- 
barians, or ally other real or imaginary event which graced 
the annala of his reign. The peculutr free gift of the senate of 
Rome was 'fixed by custom at sixteen hundred pounds of gold^ 
or about sixty-four thousand pounds sterling. The oppressed 
subjects celebrated their own felidty, that their sovereign should 
graciously consent to accept this feeble but voluntary testimony 
of their loyalty and gratitude."* 

A people elated by pride, or soured by discontent, are sel- 
dom qualified to form a just estimate of their actual situation. 
The subjects of Oonstantine were incapable of discerning the 
decline of genius and manly virtue, which so far degraded 
them below the dignity of their ancestors ; but they could feel 
and lament the rage of tyranny, the relaxation of discipline, and 
the increase of taxes. The impartial historian, who acknowl- 

^'^ See Lipsius de Magnitud Romana, i iL c. 9. The Tarragonese 
Spain presented the emperor Claudius with «. crown of gold of seven, 
and QavI with another of nine, hundred pounds weight I have fol- 
lowed the rational emendation of Lipsius.* 

^** Cod Theod. L xil tit ziil The senator^ were supposed to be 
«}zempt firom the Aurum Coronarivm; but the 4,uri OoZa^to, which 
was required at their hands, was precisely of the same nature. 

* This custom is of still earlier date , the Eomans hai borrowed it finom 
^hneoe. Who is not acquainted with the famous oration of Demosthenes 
for the golden crown, which his citizens wished to bestow, and JBicbinet Mi 
leprire him of? — G. 

Digitized by 


tii THK OCCIUIS AMD VAU. [A. D. 390-484 

adgM the justioe of tlieir.oomplaintB, will obserre some fiiTor« 
able drcttimtanoes which tended to aUeviate the miseiy of ther 
conditioiL The threateniog tempesi <^ Barbanaos, which ao 
toon subverted the fouodatioiis of Roman greatness, was still 
repelled, or suspended, on the ftontienL The arts of luxury 
and literature were cultivated, and the elegant pleasures of 
Bocioty were enioyed, by the inhabitants of a consideraUa 
portion of the globe. The forma, the pomp, and the expense 
of the civil administration contributed to restrain the irre^^ular 
license of the soldiers ; and although the laws .were violated by 
power, or perverted by subtlety, the sage prindples of the 
Koman jurisprudence preserved a sense of order and equify, 
unknovm to the despotic governments of the East The rights 
of mankind might derive some protection from jreligion and 
philosophy ; and the name of freedom, which oould no longer 
alarm, might sometimes admonish, the successors of Augustus, 
that they did not reign over a nation of Slaves or Barbamns."' 

>** The grettfc Theodosnu, in his judicioiis advice to his son, (CSaiid- 
Mk in iv. CoDBulat Hooorii, 214, ie.,) distbigQisbcs the station of a 
Roman prince from that of a Parthian monarch. Yirtne waa i 
(NT tiw one ; birth migLt siitBoe for the other 

Digitized by 


A. D. 8S8-S37.| or tbk roiuh mpm. IM 



The character of the prince who removed the seat of 
empire, and introduced such important changes into the civil 
And religious constitution of his country, has fixed the atten- 
tion, and divided the opinions, of mankind. By the grateful 
zeal of the Christians, the deliverer of the churcli has been 
decorated with every attribute of a hero, and even of a saint ; 
while the discontent of the vanquished party has compared 
Constantine to the most abhorred of those tyrants, who, by 
their vice and weakness, dishonored the Imperial purple. The 
same passions have in some degree been perpetuated to suc- 
ceeding generations, and the character of Constantine is con- 
sidered, even in the present age, as an object either of satire 
or of panegyric. By the impartial union of those defects 
whicl\ are confessed by his warmest admirers, and of those 
virtues which are acknowledged by his most implacable ene- 
mies, we might hope to delineate a just portrait of that extra- 
ordinary man, which the truth and candor of history should 
adopt without a blush.* But it would soon appear, that the 
vain attempt to blend such discordant colors, and to reconcile 
3uch inconsistent qualities, must produce a figure monstrous 
rather than human, unless it is viewed in its proper and dis- 
tinct lights, by a careful separation of the different periods of 
the reign of Constantine. 

The person, as well as the mind, of Constantine, had been 
enriched by nature with . her choicest endowments. Jlis 

^ On ne se trompera point sor Ooostainiin, en croyant tout Id mal 
tu'en dit Easebe, et tout le bien qu'en dit Zosiine. Fleiiry, Hist £c- 
desiastique, torn. iH p. 288. Eusebius and Zosimus form indeed the 
two extremes of flattery and invective. The intermediate shades &re 
ezprjcssed by those writers, whose character or situation yariouBlj 
tiupered the influence of their religious zeal. 

Digitized by 


Ii4 TBB DaCUNB AND VALL [A. D. 6$d-^31r 

stature was loftj, his eountenanoe majestic, hk deportment 
graoeful ; his strength and activity were displayed in every 
manly exercise, and from his earliest youth, to a very advanced 
season of life, he preserved the vigor of his constitution by a 
strict adherence to tlie' domestic virtues* o( ohastity and tem- 
perance. He delighted in the social intercourse of fiuniliar 
conversation ; and though he might sometimes indulge his disr 
position to raillery with less reserve than was required by the 
Aevere dignity of his station, the courtesy and liberality of bis 
mannei's gained the hearts of all who approached him. The 
sincerity of his friendship has been suspected ; yet he showed, 
on some occasions, that he was not incapable of a warm and 
lasting attachment The disadvantage of an illiterate edu- 
cation had not prevented him from forming a just estimate of 
the value of learning ; and the arts and sciences derived some 
encouragement from the munificent protection of Constantine. 
In the despatch of business, his diligence was indefatigable ; 
and the active powers of his mind were almost continually 
exercised in reading, writing, or meditating, in giving audiences 
to ambassadors, and in examining the complaints of his sub* 
jects. Even those who censured the propriety of his measures 
were compelled to acknowledge, that be possessed magna- 
nimity to conceive, and patience to execute, the most ardu- 
ous designs, without being checked either by the prejudices of 
education, or by the clamors of the multitude. In the field, he 
infused his own intrepid spirit into the troops, whom, he eon- 
ducted with the talents of a consummate general ; and to his 
abilities, rather than to his fortune, we may ascribe the signal 
victories which he obtained over the foreign and domestic foes 
of the republic. He loved glory as the reward, perhaps as 
the motive, of his labors. ITie boundless ambition, which, 
from the moment of his accepting the purple at York, appears 
as the ruling passion of his soul, may be justified by the dan- 
gers of bis own situation, by the character of his rivals, by the 
consciousness of superior merit, and by the prospect that hm 
success would enable him to restore peace and order to - the 
distracted empire. In bis civil wars against Maxentius and 
Licinius, he had engaged on his side l£e inclinations of the 
people, who compared the undissembled vices of those tyrants 
witli the spirit of wisdom and justice which seemed to direct 
the general tenor of the administration of Constantine.* 

* Th« virtuos of Constantioe are oollectad for the most pat t iwom 

Digitized by 


- Hftd Ckmstontibe &l]iiw-oii tfae-banfeof/the .Tybevjor ei'W 
In the plains of fiadmoopto, toob is^ the ohnraeter wkich, jmth 
a few exoeptbos^he miglii^lkavetBEmsmitte te pdstenfy; BUt 
the oonciitticai of his reign (aooording to the - moderate ma& 
indeed tender setttenee of a wrker of &e same age) degiwied 
him from the' rank which' he had aoqiiii»i araoi^ the moat 
deservingeOf: thejR<»ixlan priiiises.' in the li^;o£ Angugtus, we 
behold tibie tyiiRit of the republic; oonYertedy almost by impev*^ 
oeptible degrees, infta^' father of hia ootintiy, and of humah 
kidd. :ia lihat of Oonstantkie, we may .contempiBte.a heio^ 
who had so ibng inspired his subjects iinth love, and hia ene*- 
miea with tenor, degenardtbig isto a- cruel and dissolute 
monarch, oorrapted by hib fartune, or Tamd' by :ooD<{uest 
above the necessity of . dissimuladoQ; - The*, general- peace 
whidi he ibaintaiiied davo^^the laat fourteen yeaiaof hiaTeigny 
was a |»ribd o£/i^paienl> splendor. rat&Br dian. of^reaif piw 
perity ;- and tiie old age of Ooustantine was ;dii^raced \f the 
^tpposite 3^ recondlabte viees of rapaekms&eBS jfnd prodi'^^ 
gahty. Ihe aoenmulated treasures found in ]&e palaces of 
Maxentins and lieipiiis, were'laviaiilyconisumed^ the variioRiSi 
innovatioiia. introduced by the conqueror, were: altetuM 
with aii inorteing. expense; the cost of: his .buildingB, his 
eoart, and his festrrala,: required an immediate, and plentifjol 
8q>pl7; aiad .the ^^pression of the people was; thei only fund 
which eoldd support the mi^ufioence of .the sorar^n. . fiisi 
unworthy favorites, enriched hj ifae boundkssiftbarality of 
tbeiir master, usinped with- impunity the privilege od rapine 

EutropiuB and iha. youoger Victor^ two sincere pagans, who wrote 
after, the extinction of bis family. Even Zosimus, and ilie ^Emperor 
Julian, acknowledge his personal courage and military achieveii* 

* See EuttopiuS) ■; 6. in winao- Imperii texapore aptimis principi* 
bus, ultimo mAf^ya fompft"^"^"". From the ancient Greek yersion of 
Pioeaniusi (edit Hayercamp. p. 697,) I am inclined to suspect that 
Eutropiufl h^ originally written vix mediis ; and that the offensive 
monosyllable was dropped by the wilful inadvertency of tranacrib- 
ers. Anrelius Victor expresses the general opinion by a vul^ and 
indeed obscure proverb. Trachala decem annis prffiBtantissimds; 
duodecim sequentibos lairoj decern oovissimis pupiuut ob immojuicaa 

^ Julian, Orat L p. 8, in a flattering discourse pronounced before the 
•on of GoDstantine; and Cssares, p. 836. Zosimus, p. 114^ 11$. The 
stately buildings of Constantinople, <&&, may be quoted as a lasting 
sad unexceptionable proof of the profuseness of their founder. 

Digitized by 


ii€ TBB DXOUMX AND FALL [A. D. Mt-ll87« 

Nttd oonmption.* A aecret bot umrenai decaj was Ut in 
every part of the poblio adinuitttrationy and the emperor hin»* 
ael^ thoogb he still retained the obedience, gradually lost iht 
ettoem, of his subjects. The dress and manneis, which^ 
towards the decline of life, he diose to affect^ served only to 
degrade hhn in the eyes of mankind. The Asiatio ponip^ 
which had been adopted fay the pride of Diocletian, assumed 
«n air of soflxiess and effeminacy in the person of -Constantine. 
Ba is represented with false hair of varioas colors, labcNrionsly 
arranged by the skilful artiste of the times} a diadem of a 
new and more expensive £ishion ; a profosion of gems and 
eearlsy-of collars and braee&ete, and a variegated flowing robe 
of silk, most dmonsly embroidered with flowers of gold. In^ 
wch apparel, scarcely to be excused by the youth and My* 
of Ela^pelbalus,; we are at a loss to diseover the wiadbm of an 
aged- iaonareh, and: the simplicity of a Roman teterso.' A 
mind thus relaiced by prosperity and indulgeneey was.incapable 
of rising to that magnanimity which disdains suspicion, and 
dares to forgive. The deaths of Maximian and Lidnius may 
perhaps be justified by the maxims of policy, as they are 
tat^li^ in the schools of tyrante ; but at imJMiitiai narrative of 
the executions, or rather murders, which sullied the decUning 
age <^ Constantine, will suggest to our most candid thoughts 
tlie idea of a prince who' coukl sacrifice without rdaotanoe th« 
kiWB of justice, and the feelings of nature, to the dictates either 
o>i his panibhs or of his mterest 

The same fortune which so iaTariably followed the standard 
of Constantine, seemed to secure the hopes and comforts of 
his domestic life. Those among his predecessors who had 
•njoyed the longest and most prosperous reigns, Augustus, 
^ajan, and Diocletian, had been disappointed of posterity ; 
and the frequent revolutions had never allowed sufficient time 
for any Imperial fimiily to grow up and multiply under the 

* The impartial Amnuanus deserves all our confidence. Proximo- 
rum fauces aperuit primus omnium Coostantinus. L. zvi. c 8. £u- 
sebius himself confesses the abuse, (Vit Constantia L iv « 29, 54;) 
and some of the Imperial laws feebly point out the remedy. See 
above, p. 146 of this rolume. 

* Junan, in the OflBsars, attempts to ridicule his undeu His sospU 
cious testimony is confirmed, howeyer, by the learned Spanheim, with 
Che authority of medals, (see Commentaire, p. 166, 299, 897, 469.) 
Eusebhn ^Orai c 6)alleges, that Constantine dressed for the public, 
•ot for hmiself Were this admitted, the vainett oozoomb tofM 
MTer want an excuse. 

Digitized by 


A-lK898-d37.J of the soman bmfiiib. I^ 

ikade of i the purple. Bui tke loyaity of the FlaviaD Km, 
wiueh had hem iiiBt eimobldd by the Gothic Olandiiis, de* 
Boehded thfoagh Bereml geDemtioin; and Oonttantiiie him> 
self derived from his royal &ther the here^tary honon 
which he transmitted to his^ children. The emperor had been 
twice married. Mineryina, the obscure but lawful object of 
Lis youthful attachment,' had left him only one 8on;'wno was 
called Orispfis. By Fausta, the daughter of Maximian, he 
had thiee daughters, and three sons known by the kindred 
Duues of Gonstantine, Oonstantius, and Constans. The un^ 
ambitious brdthexs of ^e great Oonstanidne, Julius Oonstantius, 
Dalmatiiis, and Hannibaiianns,* were pefmitted to enjqj the 
most hoDonUe rank, «ttd the most affluent fortune, that could 
be consistent with, a private station. The youngest of the 
fthroe lived -without a name, and died without posterity. His 
two elder brokers obtained in marrii^e the daughters of 
wealthy senatois, and propagated* new branches of the Im- 
perial raee. Gailus and JvHan afterwards became the most 
illustrious of the children of Jiihus Oonstantius, the Patrician, 
The two BOBS of Dalmatius, who bad been decorated with the 
vain tide of Oennor, were named Dalmatius and HannibaHa- 
nus. The two sisters of the great Oonstantine, Anastasia and 
Satiopia, were bestowed on Optatus and Nepotianus, two 
senators of noble birth and of consular di^ty. His third 
sister, Constantia, was distinguished by her preeminence of 
greatness and of misery, ^e remained the widow of the 
tanquiBhed Licinius ; and it was by her entreaties, that , an 
inhoeent boy, the (Spring of their marriage, preserved, for 
some time, his life, the title of Caesar, and a precarious hope 
of the succession. Besides'the females; and the allies of the 
Flavian hoise, ten or twelve males, to whom the laaguage of 
modem courts would apply the title of princes of the blood, 
seemed, according to the order of their birth, to be destined 
eith» to inherit or to support the throne of Gonstantine. But 
in less than thirty years, Mb numerous and increasing family 

"* Zosimus and Zonaras agree in representing Minervina as the con- 
Culttie of GoDstAntaiie ; bat Ducange has very gallantly rescued her 
diaracter, bj prodadng a decisive passage from one of the pane* 
lyrics : " Ab ipso fine piieritiaB te matrimonii legibus dedistr* 

' Ducange (FamiliiD Byzantuue, p. 44) bestows on him, after Zo* 
airui, the name of Constantme; a name sbmewhal^ unlikely, as it 
mi already occupied by the elder brother. That of Hannioalianni 
k mcntioDed in the Paschal Chronicle, and is approved by TiUemoit^ 
ffisl des Empereurs. torn. iv. p. 527. 

Digitized by 



WW ie4i>^ ^ the prnoo* of.OQtt$taDtiiB:«iid Jutbtn^'wlc 
afena ]iad 8ui vived a series of IcrkiiM add cabuoitiiaa, sudi :>ai 
the tragic ppet0 hatverd^ploredin ihe deroted Ikei of. Pelopt 
and of CadiauB, . ..]..; 

Grispus, the eldest son of Comtantine^ and the preBnmptm 
heir of the^en^pve,.is represented by impartial hiitanans aa u 
amiable and aooompliabed youith. The care of hia edneatioin^ 
or at least of his studies, was intrusted to liictanlhi9y the moat 
eloquent of the Qhnstians; a preoeptor admirably quaiMed ta 
form the taste, and to ezcijte tbe ▼irtues, cf bis iUustrioua.diii 
ciple.* At the age of seventeen, Criapus waa imrested. lidtb 
the title of Gfesar^ and tbe adminislaration of like: Gallic pro v: 
inces, where the inroads pf the Qermans.gafve bim «n. early 
oooasion of signalizing Im mihtary prowess.. * In Jtbe -dvil ww 
which broke outeoQn afterwards, the father and son dividtd 
their powers ; and this history baa already 08kbMked:tlie>vala# 
as well as condncit displayed by the latjtetv in tsmiag the strsato 
of the Hellespont, S0 obstinately defended l^.tbe supenov fiee| 
oi I4cinia3. This nairal victory x*OBtribotecL> to determina the 
event of the war ; . and the names of ^ Gonakantine aoid of Gm 
pas were united in the joyful acclamations of> 6ieir eastern 
subjects; who loudly proclaimed, tbat the woild had been 
subdued, and was now governed,, by am empsnir /t&dpved 
with ev^ virtue; and by his iilustiiouB son, a paince belovad 
of Heaven, and the lively, image, of > bis fatbe^'a perfectioDs. 
The public fiuvor, wbicb seldom eccompaniea old age^ diflbaed 
its Ittstrp ovepr tbe youth of Grispus. i He:deBerved tine esteem^ 
and be ^engaged the affections, cf tbe court, tbe army, and the 
peo{de, The experien<oed merit of a reigmug.innintfrcb is 
acknowledged by hi» subjects with reluctance, and frequently 
denied wi^ pvtul and discontented murmurs ; wh^ from tbe 
opening virtuea.of his successor, they ibadly oonoeive the most 
unbounded hopes of private as well as public felicity.''' 

This dangerous populai^y soon exmtsd the. attention of 
GoDstantiue, who, both as a &ther and as a; king, was vaoipmx 

* Jerom. la Chron. The poverfy of Ladtwtifis may be; applied 
either to the praiae of t^e disinterested pbiloso^er, or to the Auam off 
tte unfeding patroa See TiUemont, Menu ficelesiut torn. yL port 
t . p. 845. DupiD, BibUoth6que Ecdeaiast torn, i p 205. Ijmdbier's 
CiodiUlity of tike Gospel History, part il toL viL {x 66. 

>* Euseb. Hist Eoclesiast 1. 3t e. 9. Sutropius (z. 6) efy]m hm 
^agregiun yimm;'^ and Julian (Ofat i.) very plainly aUndes to tbt 
exploits of Grispus in the civil \rar. See Spanbeimf Oommcnt. p M 

Digitized by 


A«i)j9S^;] 09 -rBXr fROUAv jospw^. HBp 

of an requiil iDstead,:<of atlM^ti^g to flecuretliid aHft» 
giaaed of Ixb aoo- by; th« generoua (faa of oonfideeee aiod 
^ratitode, he- resolved to prevent tiie tQis0lue& wiuofa. vAi0ii 
be apprehended from diasatislied ambkiOpi; CBi$pa» aoob haid 
reason to oomplaiD, ;that while hk ii^O»at blather Constanliiii^ 
ifas aent^ mth the tide of 0se8ar,:to r^ga over his pebuiiar 
deparbDent ei ^e QalUo proviD0eSj\' he^ » piinee of raatore 
jWif who had performed sueh.reoeBt anid eigo^ services, 
instead of b^ng, nosed, to the superior rafik ^f Augustus^ was 
oonfined almost a prisaner to his &dM!r^s oowrt ; and eKposed^ 
without power. or defence, to every <eaiu9i Ay which thu malice 
of his enemjesr could' suggest Un^er such painful 4»rcumr 
stances, the4X>yal iyou& might not ^.way^. be able to oompoee 
his behavior, or suppitessi hisdisiXMa^^t; and we^ may be 
assured, that he. was- encompassed by a.-tifain of indisisro^ or 
perfidious fbllorwera, who assiduously .studied to inflame, and 
who w^e pe^iapa instructed to betray, the^iinguarded wanMh 
of his resentment. An edict of Ooti^tadiine, published about 
this time, manifestly indicates his real or aii^ted i suspicions, 
that a secret con^iracy had been.formed i agaittst his peitMm 
and government. By. ^ the allui^meata of honors and i«k 
wards, he invites informers of every degree to acouse without 
exception, bia . magistrates or mixusters, la% frieiids. or his most 
intimate fevoiates, protesting^ "with a solemn asseveration, that 
he himself .will list^ to the cbaigci, that he himself will 
rdvenge his injuries; and Gonchiding ^th a prayer, whidi 
discovers some apprehension of danger, tha|; the, providence 
of the- Supreme JBreing may still continue to pi^tect the safety 
of the emperor, and of the empire.^* • 

The informifflns) who oomplieii with so libetiU an invitation, 
were sufficiently versed in the arts of courts to select the 
Mends and adherents of Crispus as the guilty persons ; nor is 
there any reason to distrust the veracity of the emperor, who 
had promised an ample measure of Tevenge and punishment 
The p< ^cy of Constantine maintained, however, the same 

" Co^lpare Idatiua and the Paschal Chrovicle, with Ammianus, (1. 
ziv. c; 5.) The year iji whiclL Constaotius was created Ci&saj: seems 
to be more accurately fixed by the two chroncdogists ; but the histo- 
rian who lived ia his court could not be igqorant of the €lay of the an- 
niversary. For the appointment of the new Casaiar to the provincei 
of Gaul, see Julian, Orat i p. 12, Godefroy, ChronoL Legunl, p. 26^ 
and Blondel, de Primaut6 de TEglise, p. 1183. 

" Cod. Theod. I is. tit iv. Godefiroy suspected the fecroi mothei 
of this law. Onmiment torn iil p^ 9. 

Digitized by 


tW TttB DSCLIKB AWD fAU. [A. D. 80S 

appearftnoes of regnvd and oon^oocice towatds a son, Whors 
he began to oonsfder as bk most irreooncilable enern j. 
Medals were struck with t^e customary vows fbr the long and 
ans^NKiiotis reign of the Tounsr Caesar;** and as the people, 
who were not admitted into the sedi^ete of the palac^, still 
loved his virtues, and respected his dignity, a poet who solicits 
his recall from exile, adores with equal devotion the majesty 
of the- father and that of the son/* The time was now ar- 
rived for celebrating the august ceremony of the twentieth 
year of the reign of Constantsne ; and the emperor, for that 
purpose, removed his court from Nicomedia to Roihe, where 
the most splendid preparations had been made for his recep- 
tion. Every eye, and every tongue, aflfected to expi^ess their 
sense of the general happiness, and the veil of eeretnony and 
dissimulation was drawn for a while over the daikest designs 
of revenge and murder.^* In the midst of the festival, the 
unfortunate Crispus was apprehended by order of the em- 
peror, who kid aedde the tenderness of a father, without 
assuming the equity of a judge. The examination was short 
and pnvsJtQ ; ** and as it was thought decent to conceal the 
fate of the young prince from the efes of the Roman people, 
he was sent under a strong guard to Pola, in Istria, where, 
soon afterwards, he was put to death, either by the hand of the 
executioQer, or by the more genUe operations of poison.** The 
Caesar Lieinius, a youth of amiable' manners, was involved in 
the ruin of Crispus : ^ and the stem jelilousy of Oonstantine 

" Bucange, Fam. By^nt. p 28. Tillemont, torn, iv, p. 610. 

** His name was Porphyrius Optatianus. The date of his pan- 
egyric, written, according to the taste of ike age, in vile aoroitics, is 
settled by Scaliger ad Euseb. p. 260, Tillemont, torn. iv. p^ 607, and 
Fabriciufl, BibliotiL Latin, 1. iv. a 1. . 

" Zosim. L it p. 103. Godefroy, Chronol Legum, p. 28. 

" Atrptrwf , mthout a trial, is the strong and most probdbly the just 
ei^ession of Suidas. The elder Yietor, who wrote under the next 
reign, spieiJsB with becoming caution. ** Nat^ grancyor incertnm qui 
cai^ patris judicio ocddisset" If we consult the succeeding writers, 
Euiropius, the younger Victor, Orosius, Jerom, Zoeimus, Philostorgius, 
and Gregory of Tours, then* knowledge will appear gradually to in- 
crease, as their means of information must have diminished — a circom- 
stance which frequently occurs in historical disquisition. 

>^ Ammianus (L ziv. o. 11) uses the general expression of j9ef0»u>Aoii 
OodimiB (p. 84) beheads the joung prince ; but Sidonius ApoUmaris 
(EpistoL V. 8,) for the sake perhaps of an antithesis to Fau$ta*s parm 
tMbth, chooses to adininister a draught of eM poison. 

'* Sororis filimn, oommodBS indolis juvenem. Eutropios, x. S 
May I not be permitted t^ conjecture that Crispus had married Helt- 

Digitized by 



ms immoved by the prayen and lean of hw fimtite i 
pleading for the life of a ion, whose rank was his only crime, 
and whose Ion she did not long survive. The story of these 
unhappy prihces, the nature and evidence of their guilty the 
Ibrms of their trial, and the circnmstanoes of their d^th, were 
buried in nipt^ous obscurity ; and the cowtly bishop, who 
has celebrated in an elaborate work the virtues and piisty of his 
heiQ, observes a prudent silence on the subject of these tragic 
events.^' Such haughty contempt for the opinion of mankind, 
whilst it imprints an indelible stain on. the memory of Constan- 
tine, must remind us of the veiy difierent behavior of one of 
the greatest, mbnarchsc^ the present age. The Czar Peter, in 
tiie f nil poflBession of despotic power, submitted to the judgment 
of Russia, of- Europe, and of posterity, the reasons which had 
compelled him to subscribe the condemnaiion of a criminal, or 
at least of a degenerate son."' 

The innoQ^ioe of Crispus was so universal^ acknowledged, 
that the nsodem Greeks, who ad<»e the memory of ueir 
founder, are reduced to palHate the guilt of a parricide, whfeh 
the common feelings of human nature forbade them to justify. 
They pretend, that as soon as the afflicted father discovered 
the falsehood of the accusation by which his credulity had 
been so fiitally misled, he published to the wortd his repent^ 
anee and remone; that he mourned forty days, during which 
he abstained from the use of the bath, and all the ordinary 
•comforts of life; and that, for the lasting iastruction of poe- 
terily, he erected a golden statue of Crispus, with this mem- 
orable inscription: To ht son, whom I dNJUsrur con* 
»SMNED.'^ A tale so moral and so interesting would deserve 

ua, the daughter of the emperor licioius, and that on the happy de- 
livery of the princess, in the year 322, a general pardon was granted 
by Constantinet See Ducange, Fam. Byzani p. 47, and the law (L ir. 
tit. xxxviL) of the Theodosian code, which has so much embarrassed 
the interpreters: God6f5poy, torn, iii p. 261.* 

** See the Iif& of Gonstantine, particularly L ii. e. 19, 20. Two hnn- 
dred and 1!fty years afterwards ifyagrius (L iil c. 41^ deduced from the 
rilence of Eusehins a vain argument aginst the reality of the lact 

■• "Histoire de Herre le Grand, par Voltaire, p^t u. c. 10. 

■^ In order to prove that the statue was erected by Gonstantine, 
sikl alicrwards concealed by the malice of the Arians, Codinufl veiy 

• ThU conjectnre is very doubtful. The obscurity of the law quoted from 
Ae Theodosian code Hcaroely allows any inference, and there is extant bat 
«B0 CMdal winch can be attnbuted to a Helena, wife of Crispus. Bee lUk 
IM. Doct Num. Vet. t. vm. p. 102 and 145.-*a. 

Digitized by 


i#t nU DKCUNft AMU FALk [A.D. $24 

iQ^ be flupported bj leaslexooptioiuihl^ vkthoriuy; but if m 
toiiBult tlbe more ao^itt eiid authentie \natei8^ they wiU 
tnlbrfu 41S; that the xepentanoe of 'QoD^taotito unjs manifested 
only in acta of blood and revenge; .and that be atdoed fee the 
mttrder of an innocent son, by ibe exeeutkm, -perhapa^ of ^ a 
gmlty wife. -They^ascnbe the misfortanea of Onapw to tlM 
arts of his step-mother Faosta, whose ioqalacaUe hatred^ or 
whose disappointed love, renewed, in the polaee of GonstantiBo 
(be ancient tragedy of Hippolitus and of Phttdra.** like the 
dau^ter of Mmos, the daughter of Maxiinian aocuasd her son^ 
inrlaw of an inoestnons att^pt on Uie cbastify of his fiither'a 
wife ; and easily obtained, item the jealousy of the empercHr, 
a senteaoo of death against. a young prinoei whom she com 
•idered with reason as the most formidable rival of her own 
diildreh. But Helena^ the aged mother of CoBstantine, 
lamented and revenged the untimely &te of her .grandson 
Crispus ; nor wais it loAg before a real or pretended discovery 
was made, that Fausta herself entertained a.oriniiial connec- 
tion with a slave belonging to the Imperial stables.*' Her 
condemnation and punishment were the. instant. oonseqiienees 
of the charge ; and Ae adulteress was su£bcated hj the steam 
of a bath, which, for that purpose, had been heated to an ext 
tiaordinary d^ree.'^ By some it will perhaps, be. thoii^t^ 
that the remembrance of a ocmjugal union of twenty yeass, 
and the honor .of their common o&priag, the destined heici 
of the throne^ might have seined the obdurate heart ^f Gon* 
stanttne, and persuaded him to suffer his wife, howevet guilty 
she might appear, to expiate her offences in % solitary prison^ 
But it seems a superfluous labor to> weigh the propriety, unless 
we could ascertain the truth, of this singular event, which ia 

readily creates (p. 34) two witoeases, Hippolitus, and the voim^er 
Herodotus, to whose imaginary histories he appeaJs with unblushifig 

>* Zosimus (1. ii. p. 103) may be con|uderdd as out: prigiaaL The 
iDgenuify of the modems, assisted by a few hints from the aadents, has 
illustrated and i«aprQved hi^ obscure and imperfect narraitiya 

" Philostorgius, 1, ii, c 4. ZosimuQ (L i\. pu 104, 116) imputes U* 
Con&tantinethe death of two wiyes, of .the innocent ]^austfl^ and of an 
adulteress, who was the mother of his three 8UjCcessor& According- tc 
Jerom, three or four years elapsed between the death of Ciiapns and 
ttiat of Fausta. The elder Victor is prudently silent 

'* If Fausta was put to death, it is reasonable to belieye thu^ the 
pri?ate apartments of the palace were the scene of her ezecutioo. . '^ 
orator .Omysoetom indulges his fancy by exposing the naked empn^K' M 
t desort mountain to be devtnired by wild beasts. ... 

Digitized by 


A.D.32iJ OF THB BOiUkir xmpiks. UBS 

attended with flome oirevnifttaiioM of doaU aiid perplexity. 
Those who ha^e attacked, aad those who have defended, th« 
ehififfacter of Ooncfta&dne, have alike disregardiBd two very 
v«markaUe paasi^ 6i two orations pronoiiniQed under thu 
succeeding^ f^&ga. Tk^ former celebrates tiie virtues, the 
beauty, Kbd the fertune of the empress Fausta, the .daaghten 
wife, sister, and itioth<3ir of so many princes.** The latter 
asserts, in explicit t^rms, that the mother of the younger Oon* 
stantine, who was slain three years after his father^s deatli, 
survived to wtai^ o^<«r the fate <i her son.^' Notwithstanding 
the positive testicCtony of several writers of rthe Pagan as well 
as of the Chrig$tii«n religion, th^e may slill remain tome reason 
to believe, or at leadt io suspect, that Fausta escaped the blind 
and suspbioua cnielty of her husbtmd* The deaths of a son 
and a nephew, with th6 Execution of a great number cf rc> 
spectable, and p^haps iDikoeent friends,*' who were involved in 
their fell, tnay be sufficient, however, to justify-- the discontent 
of the Roman peop^' aiad to explain the wtirical venes affixed 
to the pakioe gate, comparing tibe splendid and bloody migns 
of O^nstantlne and Nero.'* 

By the death of Crispus, the inheritance of the empire 
seemed to devolve on the three sotis of Fansta, who have been 
already raentiooed under the names of Constantine, of Con* 
stasntius, and of Constans. These young princes were snc* 

'* Julian. Orat i. He seems to caliber the mother of Crispus. She 
(night assume tl^at title by adoption. At least» she.was not considered 
Ashis mortal enemy. Jolian compares the fortune of Fausta with that 
of Parysatis, the Persian q^ueen. A Roman would have more naturally 
yidcollected the second Agrippma : — 

Et tno), qni iar le trone ai sulvi mes ancfttres : 
Moi, fille, femme, soaur, et mere de vos inaitrea. 

'* Monod. in Oonstahtin. Jun. c. 4, ad Calcem Entrop. edit Haver- 
camp. The orattnr styles h^r the most divine and pious of queena 

■* Interfecit numerosos amicos. Eutrop. xx. 6. 

" Satumi aurea ssecula quis requirat ? 

Sunt hsec gemmea, sea Neromana. 

Sidon. Apollinar. y. 8. 
It is somewhat singcilar that these satirical lines should be attributed, 
dot to an obscure libeller, or a disappointed patriot, but to Ablavius, 
prime minister and favorite of the emperor. "We may now perceive 
that the imptecations of the Roman people were dictated by humanity, 
as well as by superstition. Zosim. I ii. p. 105. 

. 65) treats this inference of (Hbhon, and 
ala, with too much contempt, considertag 
I general scantiness of proof 'on this canons qnestioo. — ^M. 

* Maoso (Lebcn Constontins, p. 65) 
Ike aathoHties to which he appeals, '^ 
ihm general scantiness of proof on this 

Digitized by 


IM mm DXCUKB and fall [A. D. S9(k 

eaaasvely tnvwted with the tide of OsBsar ; and the date6 of 
their promotion may be referred to the tenth, the twentieth, 
and the thirtieth jears of the reign of their father."* This 
conduct, though it tended to multiply the future i|iad;erB of the 
Roman wcvld, might be excused by the partiality of paternal 
affection ;. but it is not so easy to understand the motives of the 
emperor, when he isn jangered the safety both of his funily 
and of his people, by the unnecessary elevation of his twn 
nephews, DiUmatius and Hannibalianus. The former was 
raised, by the tide of Giesar, to an equality with his cousins. 
In &vor of the latter, Gonstantine invented the new and singu- 
lar appellation of I^obiHsnmus ; ** to which he annexed the 
flattering distinction of a robe of purple and gold. But of the 
whole series of Roman princes in any age of the empire, 
Haunibalianus alone was distinguished by the title of King ; 
a name which the subjects of Tiberius would have detested, 
as the profane and cruel insult of capricious tyrianny.' The use* 
of such a titie, even as it appears under the reign of Oon- 
stantine, is a strange and unconnected fiict, which can scarcely 
be admitted on the joint authority of Imperial medals and con- 
temporary writers.'* 

The whole empire was deeply interested in the edu<«tion 
of these five youths, the acknowledged successofs of Gon- 
stantine. The exercises of the body prepared them for the 
fatigues of war and the duties of active life. Those who occa- 

'* Euseb. Orat in Constantin. c. 3. These, elites are sofficiently 
correct to justify the orator. 

** Zosim. LiL p. 117. Under the predecessors of Constaatine, i^Ta 
bilUaimus was a vague epithet, rather than a legal aiid determined 

'* Adstruunt nummi veteres ac singulares. Spaoheim do Usu 
Numismai Dissertat. x^L voL iL p. 357. AmmiaQus speaks of thin 
Roman king (I xiv. c. 1, and Yalesius ad loc) The Valesian frag- 
ment styles him King of kings; and the Paschal Chronicle, (p 
286,) by employing the word, P«/a, ac(iuires the weight of Latin 

* HannibiUianas is always designated in these authors by the title of kine 
There still exist medals struck to his honor, on vrhich the same title is found. 
FL. HANNiBALiANo itsGi. ' See Eckhel, Doct Nun. t viii 204. Armeniam 
nationesqne circom socias habebat, says Aor. Victor, p. 225. The writer 
means the Lesser Armenia. Thoagfa it is not possible to qnesdon a fact 
sapported by such respectable anthoirities. Gibbon oonsidera it inczpficable 
and incrodilue. It is a stnmige abuse of the privilege of doubting, to refuse 
•n behef in a&ct of sach little importance in itself) and attested thus Ibr^ 
maDy by coxitbmporary antknrs and public monuments. St Msrtm. nolo ta 
Le Beau i 341 .--M. 

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4*I>. 326.] ov (TSB .iOHAir smfouc. Ifl 

tioiuiUy mentioii the education or takBte of Gonstautifie, allo# 
that he exoelied ia.the gymnastks arts of leapii^ and runmng^* 
that he was a dexterous ardier^ a skilM hctfseman, and a 
master of all tiie diff^reait weapons used in the service either 
of the cavalry or of the in&ntry.'* The same assiduous 
cnltivatioa was bestowed, though not perhaps with equal sue* 
oess, to improve the minds of &e sons and nephews of Con» 
stantine.*' The most celebrated professors of the Ohiistiaii 
fiiith, of the Grecian philosophy, and of the Roman juris- 
pmdence, were invited by the liberality of the emperor, who 
reserved lor lumself the important task of instrudang the royal 
youths in the science of government, and the knowledge of 
mankind. But the ^nius of Constantino himself had • beien 
formed by adversity and experience. In the free intercourse 
of private life, and amidst the dangers of the court of Gale- 
rius, he had learned to command his own passions, to encoun* 
» ter those oi his equals, and to depend for his present safety 
and future greatness on the prudence and Brmness of his per- 
sonal conduct His destined successors.had the misfortune of 
being born and educated in the imperial purple. Incessantly 
durrounded with a train of flatterers, they passed their youth 
in the enjoyment of luxury, and the expectation of a throne ; 
nor would the dignity of their rank permit them to descend 
.from that elevated station from whence the various characters 
of human nature appear to wear a smooth and uniform 
aspect The indulgence of Constantine admitted thein, at a 
very tender age, to share the administration of the empire; 
md they stwUed the art of reigning;, at the expense of the 
feople intrusted to their care. Th% younger Constantine was 
^pointed to hold his court in Gaul ; and his brother Con- 
%tantius exchanged that department, the ancient patrimiony of 
their father, for the more opulent, but less martial, countries 
of the East Italy, the Western Illyricum, and Africa, were 
accustomed to revere Constaus^ the third of his sons, as the 
representative of the great Constantine* He fixed Dalmatius 
on the Gothic frontier, to which he annexed the government 

*» His dexterity in martial exerciaas m cdebratod by Julian, (Qrai I 
!«. 11, Orat il p. 68,) and allowed by Ammianas, (L xzi. c. Hk) - 

" Emeb. in vit Gonstantin. L iv. c. 61, Julian, Orat. i. p. 11 — 16, 
with Spanheim's elaborate Oommentary. libaaiits, Orat lii p. loa 
OoDstantius studied with laudable diligence ; but the duloess of kit 
Sancy po^rhted him from succeeding in the art of poetry^ or even ««f 

Digitized by 


Iff xsp :]»cxi]fH .AJSD« [A, D. $24 

«£, Tlvr«KA Maced<Mu%*aiid Greece. .Thd city of . Caesam 
wa9 oboaeii &r the i^id^nd of Hannibiyisniis; and the ftfo^* 
ipcjoa of £oDjtu9» QapipadQeia^ axid . the Lesser AmMnia, iSBvd 
di^tined to Ibrm thjB extent of his new iongdom. Fot eadi 
of tbe^e prmees a suitable establishment was provided. A ju^ 
pix>portioa of gu2^r(^ of legions, and of auxiliaries, was aUotn 
ted for their respeictive dignity: and defence. The ministers 
aud generals, who w^ere pii^ed about their persons, w^re such 
as GoDstantine oould. trust .to assist^ and m&i io control^ tlkee 
youthful sQyereigns ;in the exercise of their delegated powtt; 
Aa they advancad in yeatvk and experience, the Emits of their 
atulihority. wese insensibly, enlarged : but the emperor ^ways 
¥e8eifved..f^r himself the title of Augustus; and while he 
showed the Coisars to the armies and provinces, he main-^ 
taiued every part of; the em(>ire in equal obedience to its 
supreme head.'^ The tranquillity of the last fourteen yeats 
<^ his reign was scarcely inteirupted by the contemptible ' 
insurrection of a camel-niriver in the Island of Cyprus,'* or by 
the active part which the policy of OiHistanlane eng^ped him 
to assume in the wars of the Goths and Sarmatians. 

Among the different branches of the human laoe, the Sar- 
matians £>rm a yery remarkable shade; as they seem tg unite 
the manners of ih^ Asiatic barbarians with the figure and 
complexion of the andent inhabatantei of Europe* Aooordk^. 
to Ute various ^^koddents of peace and wte, of Chance or con* 
quest, the Sarmatians were sometimes con^ned to'Ute banks 
of the Tanaid; and they sometimes spread themselves over 
the immense plains which lie betwcoi the Vistula and the 
Volga.** The caie of theur numerons ^ocke and herds, the 
pursuit of ^tnej and the exercises : of war^ oi: rather of rapine, 
(greeted the vagrant motions of the Sarmadans. The movable 

, . ; ** 

'* Eusebins, (L ir. c 61, 52,) with a design of exalting tbe authority 
and glory of CoostaDtme» aimoB^ tliat he divided the S(oma& empire 
as a fMrirate dtizen might have divided his patrimony. Bk distnbo- 
tion of the provinces may be collected from Eatr<^ius, the two Yie- 
tors, and the V alesian fragment. 

'* Calocerus, the obscure leader of this rebellion, or ratlier tmnult, 
was apprehended and. burnt alive in the market^plaoe of TaiBii8,-by 
the vigilance of PaUnaAiu& See the elder Yiotor, the; Qhroidele of 
Jerome am} the dQubt&d traditions of Theophaoes and Oedrdnus. 

'* Oellarius has eoQed^d the opmionB of the aDcienta doneemin? 
ihs £urope|m. and jMatic Sarmatia; am* M. D^AnviUe has spi^ea 
them t^ modern geogra^^y with the skill "ind oconraKS^ whidi tuwavf 
distingui&h that excellent writer. 

Digitized by 


Sm V* 829 j 1$f T9B ROOUF BVPtBS. Wl 

ctmm or citjep,. ihe^ prdiiMuy rerid«noe.4>f their, wires aai 
chn^lBnioi>n9isted-\9D]^ of "large wagoOP Urate f by. titeD^joid 
Qpvei^d .19 tliQ fcNrp of tepitiB. llie miiitary strength. of the 
padon.WAS aXD^poeed . of paivalrj ; Mni tibe eofttom of £liinr 
w^rriois, to lead, in Uieir band oim or two. fiparo borsea, 6d»- 
.oled th^ to adyaoice and to. retreat witjb: ara^ diligenee, 
wbich aurpijsed tbe seourity, and eluded the: pvnniti of a 
distant eaeipy.'^ Their poverty of iron pron^ted tfaoir nide 
iDdufitry to invent. a sortiof eakasa,. which was capable of 
resistbg a ^word or jdvehny.theiugh it was formed . only of 
harses^hoo^c^tinte ilm and polished slioes, careloUy laid 
over each: qther in« jth^ manner of. seaies or feathers, and 
itrongly sewed upon nn uadetjgannent of jeoaise linen.'* The 
offensive arms of the Sannaitians were short da^ers, long 
lanoes, and a weighjLy bow with A qniver of arrows. They 
were r^^uoedto the n^cdssity of ^noftojing 6shfboiies for the 
poin^ of. iheir wea|K>ns ; bat th^ custom of dipping them, in a 
v^Q<»a(yas liquor, tiiat poisoned the wounds whidi they in- 
flictedy is alone sufficient to prove the most savage manners ; 
since a people impressed with a sense of humamty would 
have abhorred so cruel a practice, and a nation skilled in the 
arts of war would bavjs disdained so. impotent a resource." 
Whenever th^se Barbaiians issued from their deserts in quest 
of prey, thieir shaggy beards, uncombed locks, the furs . with 
which they, were cqvencd.from head to fod^ and thek £eroe 
countenances, which secimed. to ejEpross the innJite cruelty of 
their mindis, inspired the more civilijsed provincials of Borne 
with horror and dismay. 

The tender Ovid, after a youth spent in the enjoyment of 

3' AramiaiL L xviL c. 12. The Sannatian horses -vere castrated to 
prevefkt the mischieTous aoddents which might happen from the noisy 
and imgoremable passions of the males. 

** Fausanins, L l p. 60, edit KuhiL That inqiiisitiTe traveller had 
cacefoUy examined a Sarmatiail euirass, which was preserved in the 
temple of jSSscoIapius at Athens. 

** Aspicis et mitti sub adunco toxica ferro, 

.£t tehmi causas mortis habere doas. 
. . Ovid, ex Ponto, i iv. ep. 7, ver. 7. 

Seein the Becherches snr les Americains, tom. il p^ 286—271, a very 
fluiiu diasertotiai on poisoned darta The venom -was commonly 
extracted from the vegetable reign : but that employed by the Bcythi- 
■OS appears to have been drawn from the viper, and a mixtnre of 
human olood The. use of poisoned arms, which has been spread ovei 
both worlds, never preserved a savage tribe from tho arras of a dwci, 
plined enemy 

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finne and Inxnry, was cande&ined to a hopeless exile on f^« 
&ocen banks of the Danube, where he was exposed, almost 
without defence, to the fnrj of these monsters of the desert, 
wiiih whose stem spirits he feared that his gentle shade might 
hereafter be confounded. In his pathetic^ but sometimes un- 
manly lamentations,*' he describes in the most liyelj colors 
the dress and manners, the arms and inroads, of the Getae 
and: Sannatians, who were associated for the purposes of 
destructbn ; and from the accounts of history th^re is some 
reason to believe that these Sarmatiaiis were the Jaaygae, one 
of the most numerous and warlike tribes of the nation. The 
allurements of plenty engaged them to seek a permanent 
establishment on the frontiers of the empire. Soon after tho 
reign of Augustus, they obliged the Dadans, who subsisted by 
fishing on the banks of the River Teyss or Tibiscus, to retire 
into me hilly country, and to abandon to the victorious Sar- 
matians the fertile plains of the Upper Hungary, which are 
bounded by the course of the Danube and the semicircular 
enclosure of the Carpathian Mountains.** In this advantageous 
position, they watched or suspended the moment of attack, as 
Afty were provoked by injuries or appeased by presents ; they 
gradually acquired the skill of using more dangerous w^apons^ 
and although the Sarmatiaiis did not illustrate their name by 
any memorable exploits, they occasionally assisted their east- 
em and western neighbors, the Goths and the Germans, with 
a formidable body of cavalry. They lived under the irregular 
aristocracy of their chiejftains : ** but after they had received 

*^ The nine books of Poetical Epistles which Ovid composed daring 
the seven first years of his melancholy exile, possess, besides the merit 
of elegance, a double value. They exhibit a picture of the human 
mind under very singular circumstances ; and they contain many curious 
observations, which no Roman except Ovid, oould have an opportunity 
of making. Every circumstance wtiidi tenda to illueftrate the history 
of the Barbarians, has been drawn together by the very accurate 
Count de Buat Hist. Ancienne des Peuples de I'Europe, tom. iv. t, 
xvi. p. 286—817. 

^^ The Sarmaiian Jazyga were settled on the banks of Pathissus or 
Tibiscus, when Pliny, iu the year 79, published his Natural History. 
See L iv. c. 25. In the time of Straoo ' and Ovid, sixty or aereoty 
years before, they appear to have inhabited beyond the Qekm, alo^g 
the coast of the Euxine. 

** Principes Sarmaturum Jasygum penes quos dvitatis regimen . 
plebem quoque et vim eq'iitum, qua soU valant, offerebant faoi 
Hisi iii. 5. This offer wa? made in the civil war betvein yiUiUnw 
md Vespasian. 

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mto ih&t bosom the fugitive Vandals, vho yielded to th6 
pressure of the Gothic power, thej seem to have chosen a 
kin^ from that nation, and from the illustrious race of the 
AsUngi, who had formerly dwelt on the chores of the northern 

This motive of enmity must have inflamed the subjects of 
contention, which perpetually arise on the confines of warlike 
and independent nations. The Vandal princes were stimu- 
lated by fear and revenge; the Gothic kings aspired to extend 
their dominion from the Euxine to the frontiers of Germany; 
and the waters of the Maros, a small river which falls into the 
Teyss, were stained with the blood of the contending Barbari- 
ans. After some experience of the superior strepgth and 
numbers of their adversaries, the Sarmatians implored the 
protection of the Roman monarch, who beheld witn pleasure 
the discord of the nations,. but who was justly alarmed by the 
progress of the Gothic arms. As soon as Constantine had 
declared himself in favor of the weaker party, the haughty 
Araric, king of the Goths, instead of expecting the attack of 
the legions, boldly passed the Danube, and spread terror and 
devastation through the province of Maesia. To oppose the 
inroad .of this destroying host, the aged emperor took the field 
in person ; but on this occasion either . his conduct or his f<fr- 
tune betrayed the glory which he had acquired in so many 
foreign and domestic wars. He had the mortification of see- 
ing his troops fly before an inccmsiderable detachment of the 
Barbarians, who pursued them to the edge of their fortified 
camp, and obliged him to consult his safety by a precipitate 

** This hypothesis of a Vandal king reigning over Sarmatian sub- 
jects, seems necessary to reconcile the Goth Jomandes with the Greek 
and Latin historians of Constantine. It may be observed that Isidore, 
who lived in Spain under the dominion of the Goths, gives them for 
enemies, not the Vandals, but the Sarmatians. See lus Chronicle in 
Grotius, p. 709.* 

* I have already noticed the confhsion which must necessarily arise in 
history, when names purely gwgrcq)hieal, as dris of Sarmatia, are taken for 
kistoneal xunnes belonging to a single nation. We perceive it here ; it has 
forced Gibbon to suppose, without any reason but the neoessitv of extricating 
himself from his perplexity, that the Sarmatians had taken a kmg from among 
the Vandals ; a supposition entirety contrary to the usages of Barbarians 
Dada, at this period, was occupied, not by Sarmatians, who have nevei 
fcrmed a distinct race, but by Vandals, whom the ancients have often coo* 
fomided under the general terra Sarmatians. See Gattcrer's Welt-GeschichUv 
p. 464.- G 


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add ignominious retreat* . The event of a second and n»ofi>. 
snccessfiU action retrieved the honor of the Roman name; 
aiid the powers of art and discipline prevailed, after an obsti- 
nate contest, over the efforts of irregular valor. The broken 
army of the Goths abandoned the neld of battle, the wasted 
province, and the passage of the Danube : and althoughi tlie 
eldest of the sons of Constantino was permitted to supply the 
place of his father, the merit of the victory, which diffused 
oniversal joy, was ascribed to the auspicious counsels of ih% 
emperor bimselfl 

Ue contributed at least to improve this advantage^ by his 
u^dtiations with the free and warlike people of Ghersonesus,** 
whose capital, situate on the western coast of the Tauric or 
Crimaean peninsula, still retained some vestiges of a Gredan 
, colony, and was governed by a perpetual magistrate, assisted 
by a council of senators, emphatically styled the Fathers of 
the City. The Cherspnites were animated against the Goths, 
by the memory of the wars, which, in the preceding century, 
they had maintained with unequal forces against the invaders 
of their country. They were ccnmected with the Romans by 
the mutual benefits of commerce ; as they were supplied from 

^* I may stand in lieed of some apology for haying used» without 
scruple, me' authority of Constantino Porphyrogenitus, in all that 
relates to the wars and negotiations of the Chersonites. I am aware 
that he was a Greek of the tenth century, imd that his accounts of 
ancient history are frequently oonfiised and fiibulous. But on thu 
occasion, his narrative is,, for the most part, consistent and probable ' 
nor is there much difficulty in conceiving that an emperor might have 
acce8» to some secret archives, which had escaped the diligence of 
meaner historians. For the situation and history of Chersone, see 
Peyssonel, des Peuples barbares qui ont habite ]es Bords du Danube, 
c. xvl 84— 90.t ' 

* Gibbon states, that Constantine wfits defeated by the Goths iu ft first bat- 
tle. No ancient author mentions sach an event It is, no doubt, a rnxsiake 
in Gibbon. 3t. Martin, note to Le Bean, i 324. — ^M. 

t Gibbon has confounded the inhabitants of the city of Cheraon, the 
ancient Chersonesas, with the people of the CherRonesus Tanrica. If he 
had read with more attention the chapter of Ctmstantinns Porpfayrogcm- 
*ta8> from which this narrative is denved, he would have seen that the 
rathor clearly distinguishes : the republic of Cherson fiiom the zest of 
the Taxurio Peninsula,' then possessed by the kings of the GimmeriaB 
Bosphoms, and that the dtjr of Cherson alone fbmished sacoors to tbt 
Romans. The SngUsh historian is also mistaken in saying that Ute Steph- 
anephorofl of Uie Chersonites was a perpetual magistrate ; nnoe it is easy 
to discover from the great ntmiber of Stephanephoroi mentioned by Conslan- 
line Porphyrogenitus^ that they were annual magistrates, like almost al 
those whicn governed the Grecian republics. Bt. Mai-tin, note t /^ Seas 
I 386.-M. 

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the proviboes of Asia with com and manu&ctures, which they 
purchased with their onlj productions, salt, wax, and hid^ 
Obedient to the requisition of Constantine, they prepared, 
under the conduct of their magistrate Diogenes, a considerable 
army, of which the principal strength consisted in cross-bows 
and military chariots. The speedy march and intrepid attack 
of the Chersonites, by diverting the attention of the Goths, 
assisted the operations of the Imperial generals. The Goths, 
Tanquished on every side, were driven into the mountains, 
where, in the course of a severe campaign, above a j^hundred 
thousand were computed to have perished by cold and hunger 
Peace was at length granted to their humble supplications ; 
the eldest son of Araric was accepted as the most valuable 
hostage ; and Constantine endeavored to convince their chiefe, 
by a liberal distribution of honors and rewards, how far the 
friendship of the Romans was preferable to their enmity. In 
the expressions of his gratitude towards the faithful Cherson- 
ites, the emperor was still more magnificent. The pride of 
the nation was gratified, by the splendid and almost royal 
deoonitions bestowed on their magistr:ite and his successors. 
A perpetual exemption from all duties was stipulated for their 
vessels which traded to the ports of the "Black Sea. A regular 
subsidy was promised, of iron, corn, oil, and of every supply 
which could be useful either in peace or war. But it was 
thought that the Sarmatians were sufficientiy rewarded by 
their deliverance from impending ruin; and the emperor, per- 
haps with too strict an economy, deducted some part of the 
expenses of the war from the customary gratifications which 
were allowed to that turbulent nation^ 

Exasperated by this apparent neglect, the Sarmatians soon 
forgot, with the levity of barbarians, the services which they 
had so lately received, and the dangers which still threatened 
their safety. Their inroads on the territory of the empire 
provoked the indignation of Constantine to leave them to their 
&t6; and he no longer opposed the ambition of Geberie, a 
renowned warrior, who had recently ascended the Gothic 
throne. Wisumar, the Vandal king, whilst alone, and unas- 
sisted, he defended his dominions with undaunted courage, 
was vanquished and slain in a decisive battle, which swept 
away the flower of the-S»matian youth.* The remainder of 

* Gibbon supposes that this war took place because CoDstantiDo ba4 
dedacted a part of the customary gratifications, granted by his predccef!« 
■ors to the Sarmatians. Nothingjj^ this kind appears in the authors. >V© 
•M. on the contraiy. tb &t after his victor2\ and to punish the S»''rantib-)t 

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the nation embraced the desperate expedient of arming their 
slaves, a hardy race of hunters and herdsmen, by whoSv. 
tumultuary aid they revenged their defeat, and expelled the 
invader from their confines. But they soon discovered that 
they had exchanged a foreign for a domestic enemy, more 
dangerous and more implacable. Enraged by their former 
servitude, elated by their present glory, the slaves, under the 
name of Limigantes, claimed and usurped the possession of 
the country which they had saved. Their masters, unable to 
withstand. the uhgoverned fury of the popnlace^ preferred the 
hardships of exile to the tyranny of their servants. Some of 
the fugitive Sarmatians solicited a less ignominious depend- 
ence, under the hostile standard of the Goths. A more 
numerous band retired beyond the Carpathian Mountains, 
among the Quadi, their German allies, and were easily ad- 
mitted to share a superfluous waste of uncultivated land. 
But the fer greater part of the distressed nation turned their 
eyes towards the fruitful provinces of Rome. Imploring the 
protection and forgiveness of the .emperor, they solemnly 
promised, as subjects in peace, and as soldiers in war, the 
most inviolable fidelity to the . empire which should gradoiisly 
receive them into its bosom. According to the maxima 
adopted by Probus and his successors, the oflfers of this bar- 
barian colony were eagerly accepted ; and a competent por- 
tion of lands in the provinces of Pannonia, Thrace, Macedonia, 
and Italy, were immediately assigned for the habitation and 
subsistence of three hundred thousand Sarmatians.** 

By chastising the pride of the Goths, and by accepting the 
homage of a suppliant nation, Constantine asserted the majesty 

*^ The Gothic and Sarmatian wars are related in so broken and im- 
perfect a luaDner, that I have been obliged to compare the foUo-wing 
writers, who mutually supply, correct, and illustrate each other. 
Those who will take tne same trouble, may acquire a right of criticiz- 
ing my narrative. Ammianus, I. xvii. c 12. Anonym. Yalesian. p. 
715. Eutropius, z. 7. Scxtus Bufus de Provincus, & 26.- Jnliaa 
Orai I p. 9, and Spanheim, Comment, p. 94. Hieronym. in Ohron. 
Euseb. m Vit Constantin. 1. iv. c. 6. Socrates, L i c. 18. Sozomen, 
L i c. 8. Zosimus, L u. p. 108. Jornandes de Reb. Goticia, c 22. 
Inidorus in Ohron. p. '709; in Hist Gothorum Grotii. ConstODtizi. 
Porphyrogenitus de Administrat Imperii, c. 63, p. 208, edit Meursii.* 

for the ravages they had committed, he withheld the sums whici it had bees 
the caatom to bestow. St. Martin, note to Le Bean, i. 327. — M. 

* Compare, on this very obscure bat remarkable war, Yimso. Lebcn Cc«« 
■ULatins, p. 195 — M. 

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of th«3 fiomaD empire; and the ambassadors of £tbi<^ia, 
Persiii, and the. most remote oouutries of India, congratulated 
the peace and prosperity of his government^* .If he reckoned, 
among the £ftvo» of fortune, the death of his eldest son, of 
his nephew, and perhaps of his wife, he enjoyed an uninter* 
rupted flow of private as well as puhlic fehcity, till the thirtieth 
year of his reign ; a period which none ci his predecessors, 
since Augustus, had been permitted to celebrate. C<Hi8tantine 
survived that solemn festival about ten months ; and at the 
mature age of sixty-four, afber a short illness, he ended his 
memorable life at the palace of Aquyrion, in the suburbs of 
Nicomedia, whither he had retired for the benefit of the air, 
and with the hope of recruiting his exhausted strength by the 
use of the warm \>aths. The excessive demonstrations of 
gric( or at least of mourning, surpassed whatever had been 
practised on any former occasion. Notwithstimding the claims 
of the senate and people of ancient Rome, the corpse of the 
deceased emperor, according to his last request, was trans- 
ported to the city, which was destined to preserve the name 
and memory of ita founder. The body of Oonstantine 
adorned with the vain symbols of greatness, the piirple and 
diadem, was deposited on a golden bed in one of the apart- 
ments of the palace, which for that puVpose had been Bplen« 
didly furnished and illuminated. The forms of the court were 
strictly mmntained. Every day, at the appointed hours, the 
principal officers of the state, the army, and the household, 
approaching the person of their sovereign with b^ded knees 
and a composed countenance, oflEsred. their respectful homage 
as seriously as if he had been still alive. From motives of 
policy, this theatrical representation was for some time con- 
tinued ; nor could flattery neglect the opportunity of remark- 
ing that Oonstantine alone, by the peculiar indulgence of 
Heaven, had reigned after his'death.^' 

But this reign could subsist only in empty pageantry ; and 

<* Eusebius (in Vit Const L ir. c. 60) remarks three circumatoncet 
relative to these Indiana. 1. They came from the shores of the east- 
em ocean ; a description which might be applied to the coast of China 
or CoromandeL 2. They present^ shining gems, and unknown ani« 
mals. 8. They protested tneir kings had erected statues tu represent 
the supreme majesty of Constantine. 

<^ FunuB relatum in urbem sui nominis, quod sane P. R. sgerrimo 

talil Aurelius Victor. Constantine prepared for himself a stately 

tomb in the church of the Holy Apostles. Euseb. 1. iv. c 60. The 

* best) ami indeed almost the omy account of tlie sickness, death, and 

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it was &oon diaeorered tbat the mil of the most absoiute moa« 
arch is seldoin obeyed, when his subjects have no longer anv 
thing to hope from his favor, or to dread from his resentment 
The same ministers and generals, who bowed with such rev- 
erentasd awe before the inanimate corpse of their deceased 
BOTeroign, were engaged in secret consultations to exclude hk 
two nephews, Dalmatius and Hannibalianns, from the shafib 
which he had ass^ned them in the succession of the empire. 
We are too imperfiactly acquainted with the coort of Oonstan- 
tine to form any judgment of the real motives which in- 
fluenced the leaders of the eoni^iracy; unless we should 
suppose that they were actuated by a spirit of jealousy and 
revenge against the praefect Ablavius, a proud &vorite, who 
had long directed the counsels and abused the confidence of 
the late emperor. The arguments, by which they solicited 
the concurrence of the soldiers and people, are ol a more 
obvious nature; and they might with decency, as well as 
truth, insist on the superior rank of the children of Oonstan- 
tine, the danger of multiplying the number of sovereigns, and 
the impending mischie& which threatened the republic, from 
the discord of so many rival princes, who were not connected 
by the tender sympathy of fraternal affection. The intrigue 
was conducted with* zeal and secrecy, till a 4oud and unan- 
imous declaration was procured from the troops, that they 
would suffer none except the sons of their lamented monarch 
to reign over the Roman empire.^* The younger Dalmatius, 
who was united with his collateral rdations by the ties of 
friendship . and interest, is allowed to have inherited a oonsid- 
eraUe share of the aHlities of the great Oonstantine ; but^ on 
this occasion, he does not appear to have concerted any meas- 
ure for supporting, by arms, the just claims which himself 
and his royal bro&er derived from the liberality of their uncle. 
Astonished and overwhelmed by the tide of popular fiiry, 
they seem to have remained, without the power of flight or of 
resistance, in the hands of their implacable enemies. Their 
&te was suspended fill the arrival of Constantius, the second, 
and perhaps the most favored, of the sons of Oonstantine, 

funeral of Constantine, is contained in the fourth book of his Lifo. 
by EusebiuB. 

^ Eupebiua (L iv. c. 6) tenninates hia narratiye by this loyal deo 
itfalion of the troops, and avoids all the invidious circumstances of tlM 
iubseMDruent massacre. 

** The character of Dalmatius is advantageously, thcngh orMciiely 

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A.D.d37.J OV TBIi BOliiAN BMPIRB. 17fr 

_ Tbe voioe of the dying emperor hftd reoommen<ied the care 
of his fuBend to the piety of Coiistaiiifthis ; and that prince, bj 
the ykinkj of his eastern stsftion, eotdd easily prevent the dil- 
igenea of his brothen, 'who resided in their distant goyem- 
memi of Italy and Gwd. As soon as he had taken possession 
of the pahoe of Constantinople, his first care was to remove 
the af^nrehensiona of his kinsmen, by a solemn oath "which he 
pledged for their secinity. His next employment was to find 
some specious pretence which might release his conscience 
from the di>ligation of an imprudent promise. The arts of 
frand were made Bubaervient to the designs of cmelty; and a 
mani&Bt foigery was attested by a person of the most sacred 
character. From the hands of the Bishop of Nicome<^a, Oon- 
stantius received a fiital scroll, affirmed to be the genuine tes- 
tament of his fiither ; in whidi the emperor expressed his sus- 
picions that he had been poisoned by his brothers ; and con^ 
iured his sons to revenge nis death, and to consult their own 
safety, by the punishment of the guilty.** Whatever reasons 
might have been alleged by these unfortunate princes to defend 
their life and honor against so incredible an accusation, they 
were siknced by the furious clamors of the soldiers, who 
declared themselveS) at once, their enemies, their judges, and 
their executioners. The spirit, and eveh the forms of legal 
proceedings were repeatedly violated in a promiscuous mas- 
sacre ; which involved the two uncles of Constantius, seven 
of his cousins, of whom Dalmatius and Hannibalianus were 
the most illustrious, the Patrician Optatus, who had married a 
sister of the late emperor, and the Prsefect Ablavius,; whose 
power and riches had inspired him with some hopes of obtain- 

drawn by Eutropius. (x. 9.) Dalmatitis Csesar prosperrimlt indole, 
neque patruo absimilis, namd mvUo post oppressus est factioiie militari. 
As Doth Jerom and tbe Alexandrian Chronicle mention the third year 
of the OsBsar, which did not commence till the 18th or 24th of Sep- 
tember, A. B. SS^i it is certain that these military factiooB continued 
above four months. 

** I have related this singular anecdote on the authoribr of Philoi!<\ 
torgiufl, L il c. 16. But if such a pretext was ever used Dy Constan- 
tius and his adherents, it was laid aside with contempt, as soon as it 
served their immediate purpose. Athanasius (tom. i. p. 856) mentioikj 
the oath wMch Constantius had taken for the security of his kina- 

The aathority of Philostorgins is so suspicioas, as not to be sufficient tu 
establish this feet, which Gibbon has inserted in his history as certain. \« bil« 
bi tbe note he appears to doubt it. — G. 

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ifig th& purple. If it were aecessaiy. to aggravate tiie hoirron 
of this bloody scene, wb might add, tiiat G:>ti8tahtiu8 hiBiself 
had espoused the daughter of his uncle. Julius, and that he had 
bestowed his sister in marriage on his cousin Hajmibaliiuiii& 
These alliances, which the policy of .Constantine^ regard]€8i 
of the public prejudice,^^ h^d formed between the seyeral 
branches of the Imperial ho.use, served only to convince msaa* 
kind, that these princes were as cold to Ihe endearments of 
oonjugsd affection, as they were, insensible to the ties of con- 
sanguinity, and. the moving entreaties of youth and innocence. 
Of so numerous a family, Gallus and Julian alone, the two 
youngest children of Julius Constantius, were saved friom the 
hands of tlie assassins, till their rage, satiated with slaughter, 
had in some measure subsided. The emperor Constantiiis, 
who, in the absence of his brothers, wais ,the. most obnoxious 
to guilt and reproach, discOvisred, on some future occasions, a 
faint and transient reniorse for those cruelties which the per- 
fidious counsels of his ministers, and the irresistible violence o^ 
the troops, had ^extorted from his unexperienced youth.^' 

The massacre of the Flavian race was succeeded by a new 
division of the provinces; which was ratified in a personal 
interview of the three brothers. Constanttne, the eldest of 
the Caesars, obtained, with a certain preeminence of rank, 

*^ Conjugia sobrinamm diu ignor^tn, tempore addito percrebmsse. 
Tacit Annal. zii. 6, and Lipsius ad loc. llie repeal of the . ancieDt 
law, and the practice of five hundred years, were insufficient to eradi- 
cate the prejudices of the Romans, who still considered the marriages 
of Goudns-german as a species of imperfect incest (Augustin de Ciyi- 
tate Dei, zv. 6 ;) and Julian, whose mind was biased by saperstitioB 
and resentment, stigmatizes these unnatural alliances between his own 
cousins with the opprobrious epithet of yanuv r« ot* ya/iwy, (Orat vii 
p. 228.) The jurisprudence of the canons has since received and 
enf<»-ced this prohibition, without being able to introduce it either into 
the dvil or the common law of Europe. See on the subject of these 
marriages, Taylor's Civil Law, p. 831. Brouer de Jure Connulx L ii. 
c. 12. Hericourt des Los Eodesiastiqnes, part ill c. 5. Fleury, 
Institutions du Droit Canonique, tom. i p. 831. Paris, 1767, and 
Fra Paolo, Istoria del Ooncilio Trident 1. viii. 

^' Julian (ad S. P.. Q. Athen. p. 270) charges his cousin Constan- 
tius with the whole guilt of a massacre, from which he himself so 
narrowly escaped. His assertion is confirmed by Athanasius, who^ 
for reasons of a very different nature, was not less an enemy of Con- 
tftantius, (torn, i p. 856.) Zosimus joins in the same accusation. But 
the three abbreviators, Eutropius and the Victors, use very qu^ifying 
cxpiessions: "sinente potius. quamjubente*,'* "incertum quo suoficrbr 

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die poaaesBioD of the new capital, which bore his own namo 
and that of his father. Thrace, and the countries of the 
East^ were allotted for the patrimonj of Constantius; and 
Oonstans was acknowledged as the lawful sovereign of Italy, 
A&ica, and tha Western lUyricum. The armies submitted to 
their heieditaiy right ; and they condescended, after some 
delay^ to accept, firom the Boman senate the title of AugiLStus, 
When 'they first assumed the reins of government, the eldest 
of these prinoes was twenty-one, the second twenty, and the 
third only seventeen, years of age.*' 

While the martial nations of £urope followed the standards 
of his brothers, Constantius, at the head of the efifeminate 
troops of Asia, was left to. sustain the weight of the Persian 
war. At the decease of Constantino, the throne of the East 
was filled by Sapor, son of Hormouzs, or Hormisdas, and 
grandson of Naraes, who, after the victory of Galerius, had 
humbly confessed the superiority of the Boman ^wer. 
Although Sapor was in the thirtieth year of his long reign, he 
was still in the vigor of youth, as the dateL of his accession, 
by a very strange iatality, had preceded that of his birth. 
The wife of Hormouz remained pregnant at the time of her 
husband's. death; and the uncertainty of the sex, as well as 
of the events excited the ambitious hopes of the princes of the 
bouse of Sassan. Th^ apprehensions of civil war were at 
length removed, by the positive assurance of the Ma^, thai 
the widow, of Hormouz had conceived, and would safely pro- 
duce a son. Obedient to the voice of superstition, the rer^ 
^ns prepared, without delay, the ceremony of his ooronatiorr. 
A royal bed, on whidi the queen lay in state, was exhibit0(B| 
in the midst of the palace ; the diadem was placed on the 
spot, which might be supposed to conceal the future heir of 
Artaxerxes, and the prostrate satraps adored the majesty of 
their invisible and insensible sovereign.^ If any credit cau 

•■ Euseb. in Vit Constantin. 1. iv. c 69. Zosimus, L iL p. 117. Itlat 
la Ghron. See two notes of Tillemont, Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. 
p. 108^^1091. The reign of the eldest brother at C<»Ftantinople is 
noticed only in the Alexandrian Chronide. 

'* Agathias, who lived in the sixth century, is th^ author of ibis 
itory, (L iv. p^ 135, edit Louvre.) He derived his ' ibrnuition from 
some extracts of thePersian Chronicles, obtained an/ xanslated by the 
iiiterpreter Sergius, daring his embassy at that cour . The coronation 
of the mother of Sapor is likewise mentioned by S' nikard, (Tarikh. pi 
1 16,) and FHerbelot (BibUothftque Orientale, p. V .3.)* 

* Thf aathor of the Zenat nl Tarikb states, that \\ lady herself afflnue^ 

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be given to this marvellous tale, wbich seeius, however, to be 
eountenanced by the maimers of the pec^le, aiid by tbe extfn^ 
ordinary duration of his reigo, we miut adinire not enly tile 
fortune, but the genius, of Sapor. In the «oft, sequestered 
education of a Persian harem, the royal youth oould discover 
the importance of exercising Uie vigor of his mi&d and body^ 
and, by hi& personal merits deserved a throne^ on wkiioh he 
had been seated, while he was yet imoonsdous of the duties 
and temptations of absolute power. His minority was exposed 
to the almost inevitable calamities of domestic discord; his 
capital was surprised and plundered by Thair, a poweiM 'king 
of Yemen, or Arabia; and the majesty oi the royal family 
was degraded by the captivity of a princess, the sister of Uie 
deceased king. But as sooii as Sapor attained the age of man- 
hood, the presumptuous Thair, his nation, i^ his country, {tM 
beneath the first effort of the young wanrior ; who used his 
victory with so judicious a mixture of rigor and clemency, that 
he obtained from the fears and gratttude of the Arabs, the title 
of Dhoulcumaff ox, protector of the nation*^ 

The ambition of the Persian, to whom his enemies ascribe 
the virtues of a soldier and a statesman, was animated by the 
desire of revenging the disgrace of his fathers^ and of wrest- 
ing from the haiids of the Romans the five provinces beyond 
the Tigris. The military fame of Constantine, and the real 
or apparent strength of his govehmient, su^nded the attack ; 
and while the hostile conduct of Sapor provoked the resent- 
ment, his artful negotiations amused the patience of the Im- 
perial court The death of Constantine was the signal of 
war,*' and the actual condition of the Syrian and Armennan 

** D'Herbelot, Biblioth&que Orientale, p. 764* 

*' Seztus Rufus, (c 26,} who on this occasion is no contemptiUu 
ftuthority, affirms, that the Persians sued in vain for peace, and thai 
Constantine was preparing to march against them : yet the superior 

ber belief of this from the extraordinary liveliness of the infant, and its lying 
on the right side. Those who are sage on sach subjects mast deterxnine what 
light she had to be positive from these symptoms. Malcolm, Hist of PersiA, 
i 83.— M. 

*' Gibbon, according to Sir J. Malcolm, has greatly mistaken the deriva- 
tiou of this name ; it means Zoolaktef, the Lord of the Bhoolders, irom his 
directing the shoruders of his captives to be pierced and then dislocaled by 
a string passed thron^h them. Bastem auuors are agreed with respeot 
to the origin of this title. Malcolm, i. 84. Gibbon took hia derivatioa 
from D'Herbelot, who gives both, the latter on the authority of the LeK 

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frontier seemed to encourage the Persians by t)ie prospect of 
a nsk spoil and an easy conquest The example of the mas* 
aactes of the palaoe difiused a spirit of lioentiousnesR anJ 
seditioa among the troops of the East, who were no l<>Dger 
restrained by their habits of obedience to a veteran command- 
er. By tbe prudedoe of Constantius, who, from the interview 
with lus brotfadiB in Patinonia, immediately hastened to the 
banks of the Euphrates, the legions were gradually restored 
to a sense of duty and discipHne ; but the season of anarch}^ 
bad permitted Sspor to form the siege of Nisibis, and to 
occupy several of the most important fortresses of Mesopo- 
tamia.*^ In Armenia, the renowned Tiridates had long enjoyed 
the peace and glory which be deserved by his valor and fidelity 
to the cause of Bome.f ' The firm alliance which he maintained 
with Constantine was productive of spiritual as well as of 
temporal benefits ; by me conversion of Tiridates, the charac- 
ter of a saint was applied to that of a hero, the Christian &ith 
was prea<^ed and established from the Euphrates to the shores 
of the Caspian, and Armenia was attached to* the empire by 
the double ties of policy and religion. But as many of the 
Armenian nobles still refused to abandon the plurality of their 
gods and of thdr wives, the public tranquillity was disturbed 
by a discontented faction, which insulted the feeble age of 
their sovereign, and impatiently expected the hour of his 
death, fie died at length after a reign of fifty-«ix years, and 
the fortune of the Armenian monarchy expired with Tiridates. 
His lawful heir was driven into exUe, the Christian priests 
were either murdered or expelled from their churches, the 
barbarous tribes of Albania were solicited to descend from 
their mountains; and two of the most powerful governors, 

weight of the testimony of Eosebius obliges us to admit the prelim* 
inaries, if not the ratification, of the treaty. See Tillemont, msL des 
Kmpereors, torn. W. p. 420.* 
*^ Julian.Oratlp. 20. 

* Ckmstantine had endeavored to allay- the fory of the persecations, 
which, at the ingtigratkm of tbe Magi and the Jewfi^ Sapor had commenoed 
•gainat the Cfaristiaaa. Easeb Vit Hist. Theod. i 85. Sozom. ii. c. 8, 15. 

t Tiridates had rastaiiied a war against Manmin, caused by the hatred 
ti tlM latter against Christianity. Armenia was the first ruxtUm which euh 
feraeed Christianity. Aboat the year VT6 it was the religion of the king, iha 
aobles, and the people of Armenia. From St.^Martin, Supplement to Le 

^ rfofessor t~ 

t V. i. p. 78. Compare Pre&oe to History of Vfotan by Professor Kea 
tMmn. p. ix.— M. 

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Qiurpiag the ensigns or the powers of royalty, ioLplored tka 
assistance of Sapor, and opened the gates of their cities to the 
Persian garrisons. The Christian party, under the guidance 
of the Archbishop of Artaxata, the immediate sucoeasor of 
SL Gregory the Illuminator, had recourse to the piety of Con- 
stantius. After the troubles had contmued about thjpee years, 
Antiochus, one of the officers of the household, ezeduted with 
success the Imperial commission of restoring Ohotroes,* the 
son of Tiridates, to the throne of his Others, of distribntiDg 
honors and rewards among the faithful servants of the bouse 
of Arsaces, and of prochiiming a general amnesty, which was 
accepted by the greater part of £e rebellions sairaps. . But 
the Romans derived more honor than advantage from this 
revolution, Chosroes was a prince of a puny stature and a 
pusillanimous spirit Unequal to the fatigues <^ war, averse 
to the society of mankind, he withdrew from his capital to a 
retired palace, which he built on the banks of the River Eleu- 
therus, and in the centre of a shady grove ; where he con« 
sumed his vacant hours in the rural sports of hunting and 
hawking. To secure this inglorious ease, he submitted to the 
conditions of peace which Sapor condescended to impose; the 
payment of an annual tribute, and the restitution of the fertile 
province of Atropatene, which the courage of Tiridates, and 

* Chosroes was restored probably by Licimas, between 314 and 319. 
There vna an Antiochas who was pnefeetas yigilom at Rome, as appeaiv 
from the Theodosian Ck>de, (1. iii. de inf. his qaas sub ty.») in 326, and fram 
a fragment of the same work published by M. Amedee Feyron^ in 319. He 
may before this have been sent into Armenia. St M^ p. 407. [Ja it not 
more probable that Antiochus was an oflSoer m the service of tbs CflBflar 'who 
ruled m the East 7 — M.] Chosroes was sacceeded in the year 322 by bia soo 
Diran. Diran was a weak prince, and jm the sixteenth year of his reign. A. 
D. 337. was betrayed into the power of the Persians by the treachery of his 
chamberlain and the Persian governor of Atropatene or Aderbic^an. He 
was blinded: his wife and his son Arsaces shared his captivity, but the 
princes and nobles of Armenia claimed the protection of Rome ; and this 
was the cause of Constantino's declaration of war against the Persians.— The 
king of Persia attempted to make himself master of Armenia : but the brave 
resistance of the people, the advance of Constantius, and a defeat which his 
army suffered at Oskha in Armenia, and the failure before Nisibis, forc^ 
Bhflhpour to submit to terms of peace. Varaz-Shahpour, the perfidious e;ov- 
emor of Atropatene, was ilayed alive ; Diran and his son were releaaed 
from captivity ; Diran refused to ascend the throne, and retired to an obaoare 
retreat: his son Arsaces was crowned king of Armenia. Arsaces. pursued 
a vacillating policv between the influence of Rome and Persia, and the -war 
recommenced in the year 345. At least, that wta the period of the expedi- 
tion of Constantius to the East See St Martin, additions to Le Bean, 1 
4 i% The Persians have made an extraordinary romance oiit of the history 
of Sbahpour. who went as a spy to Con.stantinople, was taken, hamesaeo 
like a horsey ai;d carried to witness the deva^tatkm of his kingdcia. 

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A«D. 348.] OF TUB BOMAir EMPIRE. lil 

the Tietorioiis anns of Galerius, had annexed to th« Armeiilaii 

During the long period of the reign of Constantius, the 
TOOTinoes of the J^uit were afflicted by the calamitieB of the 
JPersian war.f The irregular incursions of the light troops 
alternately spread terror and devastation beyond the Tigris 
and beyond the Euphrates, from the gates of Otesiphon to 
these of Antioch ; tmd th» active service was performed by 
the Arabs of the desert, who were divided in their interest and 
afifections; some of their independent chiefs being enlisted in 
the party of Sapor, whilst others had engaged their ! doubtful 

•• Julian. Orat i. p. 20, 21. Moses of Chorene, L ii. c. 89, L ifi. a 
1 — 9, p. 226 — 240. The perfect agreement between the'yague lunta 
of the contemporary orator, and the eureumBtantial narrative of the nar 
tional historiao, gives light to the former, and weight to the latter. 
For the credit of Moses, it may be likewise obsery^d, that the name 
of Antiochus is found a few years before in a civil office of inferior 
dignity. See Godefroy, Cod. Theod. torn. vL p. 860.* 

* Oibbon has endeavored, in his History, to make use of the informal 
tion furnished by Moses of ChoreiKe, the only Amieman historian then 
translated into Latin. Gibbon has not perceived all the chronobgical dif- 
ficulties which occnr m the narrative of that writer. He has not thought 
of all the critical discassions which his text ought to imdergD before it 
can be combined with the relations of the western writers. From want of 
this attention, Gibbon has made the facts which he has dravtrn from this 
soozoe more erroneoas than they are in the original This judgment 
applies to all which the Bnglish oistorian has derived from the AimiBnian 
author. I have made the History of Moses a subject of particular atten- 
tion; and it is with confidence that I offer the results, which I insert 
here, and ^wfaich will appear In the course of my notes. In order to form a 
judgment of the dififerenoe which exists between me and Gibbon, I will 
content myself with remarking, that throughout he has committed an 
anachronism of thirQr years^ from whence it follows, that he assigns to 
the reign of Constantius many events which to(^. pldce during that of 
Constantine. He could not, therefore, discern the true connection which 
exists between the Roman history and that of Armenia, or fo^m a correct 
notion of the reasons which induced Constantine, at the close of his life, 
to make war upon the Persians, or of the motives which detained Con- 
stantius so long in the East ; he does not even mention them. St Mar* 
tin, note on Le Beau, i. 406. I have inserted M. St Martm's oboervatmns, 
bot I must add, that. the chronology whiiih he proposes, is not generally 
received by Armenian scholars, not, I believe, by Professor Neumann. 
— M. 

t It was during this war that a bold flatterer (whose name is unknown) 
published the Itineraries of Alexander and Trajan, in order to direct the vie- 
toriauB Constantius in the footsteps of those great conquerors of the East 
Tho former of these has been published for the first time by M. Angelo Mai 
(Milan. 1817, reprinted at Frankfort, 1818.) It adds so Uttle toonr knowl- 
edge of Alexander's campaigns, that it only oxcites our regret that it is not 
the Jtiw'srary of Tngan. of whoso eastern victories we have no distinct reoord 

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idality to the emperor.*' The more gra?o and important 
>perations of the war were conducted with equal ^cigor ; aad 
due armies of Itcmie and Persia encountered ea6h other in 
oine bloody fields, in two of which Oonstantius himself com- 
manded in person.*** The event of the day was most com- 
Bonly adretse to the Bomans^ but in the battle <^ Sfagara, 
heir miprudent valor had ahnost achiered a signal and decisive 
victory. The ^ationary troops* of Sii^ara* retired on tb^ 
ipprdach of Sapor, who passed the Tigris ever three bridges; 
ind occupied near the village of Hilleh an advantageous 
eamp) which, by the labor of his numerous pioneers, he sur* 
rounded in one day with a deep ditch and a lofty rampart His 
formidable host, when it was drawn out in ord^r of battle, 
covered the banks of the river, the adjacent heights, and the 
whole extent of a plain of above twelve miles, whidi separated 
the two armies. Both were alike impatient to engage ; but 
the liarbarians, after a slight resistance, fled in disorder ; un- 
able U) resist, or desirous to weary, the strength of the heavy 
legions, who, fainting with heat and thirst, pursued them across 
the phun, and cut in pieces a line of cavalry, clothed in com- 
plete a^mor, which had been posted before the gates of the 
camp to protect their retreat Constantius, who was hurried 
along in the pmsuit, attempted, without effect, to restrain the 
ardor ot his troops, by representing to them the dangers of 
the approaching night, and the certainty of completing their 
success with the return of day. As they depended much 

** Ammiaims (xiy. 4) gi^es a lively description of the wanderix^ 
and predatory life of the Saracens, who stretched from the confine* 
of Assyria to the cataracts of ihe Nile. It appears from the adyen- 
tores of Malchus, which Jerom has related in so entertainmg a manner, 
that the high road between BersBa and Edessa was infested by these 
robbers. See Hieroi^m. torn. i. p. 266. 

'" AVe shall take from Eutropios the general idea of the war, (x 
10.) A Persia enim multa et gravia perpessus, ssBpe captis, oppidis, 
obscssis urbibus, csesis exercitibus, nullumque ei contra Saporem 
prosperum pralium fiiit^ nisi quod apud- Singaram,.<&c. This nonest 
acooont is confirmed by the hmts of Ammianus, Rufiis, and Jerom 
The two first orations of Julian, and the third oration of Libanins, 
exhibit a more flattering picture; but the recantation of both those 
orators, after the death of Constantius, while it restores us tc the posses- 
sion of the truth, degrades their own character, and that of the em- 
peror. The Commentary of Spanhcdm on the first oration of Julian ir 
profusely learned. See likewise the judicious observationn of Till* 
noDtt Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 656. 

• Now Sinjar, on the River Chaboras. — IS. 

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4.D*8a8.] OF THS ROMAK CllPiBA ' 198 

moie on Uieir own valor Uuin on the ei^wrienoe or the abiiitMi 
of thear ohde^ they silenoed by their clamors his timid femoo- 
Btrances ; and rushing with fury to tike charge, filled np the 
ditch, Imke ' down tiie rampart, and dispersed themselves 
through the tents to recruit their exhausted strength, and to 
enjoy the nch harvest of their labors. But the prudent Sapor 
had watehed the moment of yietory. His army, of which 
the gfeater part, securely posted on the heights, had beeu 
jpectatois of the aotioD, advanced in siienoe, and under the 
<hadow of the night ; and his Persian archers, guided by the 
/Ilumination of the camp, poured a ahower of arrows on a dis- 
ii-med and iicentbns crowd. The sincerity of histoiy*' 
declares, that the Romans were vanquished with a dreadful 
slaughter, and that the flying remnant of the legions was ex- 
posed to the moat intolerable hardships^ Even the tenderness 
of panegyric, confessing that the glory « of the emperor was 
sullied by the disobedience of his soldiers, chooses to draw a 
veil over the circumstances of this m^ancholy retreat Yet 
one o£ those venal orators, so jealous of the fame of Oonstan- 
lius, relates, with amaeiog coolness, an act of such incredible 
cruelty, as, in the judgment of posterity, must imprint a £ir 
deeper stain on the honor of the Imperial name. The son of 
Sapor, the heir of his crown, had been made a- captive in the 
Persian camp. The unhappy youth, who might hiave excited 
the compassion of the most savage enemy, was scourged, tor- 
tured, and publicly executed by the inhuman Romans.** 

Whatever advantages might attend the arms of Sapor in the 
(raid, though nine repeated victories diffused among the nations 
the &me of his valor and conduct, he could not hope to 8uc#> 
oeed in the execution of his designs, while the fortified towns 
of Mesopotamia, and, above all, the strong and andent city of 
Nisibis, remained in the possession of the Romans. In the 
space of twelve years, Nisibis, which, since the time' <^ Lu- 

*' Acerrimft nocturnft conoertfttione pugnatmn est, nostrormn copsis 
ageiiti strage oonfosos. Ammian, zviiL 5. See likewise Eatropios, x 
10, and S. Rufiis, c. 27* 

** Libanins, Oral iil p. 183, with Julian. Orat I p. 24, and Spajt 
lemi's Commentary, p. 179. 

* The Persian historians, or nimancers, do not mention the battlo of 
Bkngara, bat make the captive Shahponr escape, defeat, and take jprisooer, 
llie Boraan emperor. The Homan captives were forced to repaur aU the 
fftvages they had committed, even to replanting the smallest trees, llal 

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tioUias h«er beea deaervedlj eateemed the bulwark of the East, 
austaiaed three memorable sieges against the power of Sapor ; 
and the disappointed monarch, after urging his attacks above 
sixty, eighty, and a hundred days, was thrice repulsed with 
loss and ignominy/* Thb large and populous city was situate 
about two days' journey from the Tigris, in the midst of a 
pleasant and fertile phun at the foot oi Mount Masius. A 
treble enclosure of brick walls was defended by a deep ditch;" 
and the intrepid resistance of Count Lucilianus, and his gar- 
rison, was seconded by the desperate courage of the people. 
Tlie citizens of Nisibis were animated by the exhortations of 
iheir bishop,'* inured to arms by the presence of danger, and 
convinced of the intentions of Sapor to plant a Persian colony 
in their room, and to lead them away into distant and barba- 
reus captivity. The event of the two former sieges elated 
their confidence, and exasperated the haughty spirit of the 
Great King, who' advanced a third time towards Nisibis, at the 
head of the united forces of Persia and India. The ordinary 
machines, invented to batter or undermine the walls, were 
rendered ineffectual by the superior skill of the Romans ; and 
many days had yainiy el^ed, when Sapor embraced a reso- 
lution worthy of an eastern monarch, who believed that the 
elements themselves were subject to hia power. At the stated 
seas<Mi of the melting of the snows in Armenia, the River 
Mygdonius, which divides the plain and the city of Nisibis, 
forms, like the Nile,'* an inundation over the adjacent country. 

•• Soe Julian. Oral I p. 27, Orat ii. p. 62, Ac, with the Commentary 
of Sponheim, (p. 188 — ^202,) who illostrates the circumstances, and 
a&cerUuns the tune of the tiiree sieges of Nisibis^ Their dates are 
likewise examined by Tillemont, (Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 668, 
671, 674.) Something is added from Zosimus, L liii p. 151, and the 
Alexandrine Chronicle, p. 290. 

^ Sallust Fragment Ixxxiv. edit Brosses, and Plutarch io Lucall 
tom. ill p. 184. Nisibis is now reduced to one hundred and fifty 
houses : the marshy lands produce rice, and the fertile meadows, as 
far as Mosul and the Ti^is, are covered with the ruins of towns and 
tillages. See Niebuhr, Voyages, torn. iL p. 800 — 309. 

"* The miracles which Theodoret (1. il c 80) ascribes to SL James, 
Bis).np of Edessa, were at least performed in a worthy cause, the de- 
fence of his couutry. He appeared on the walls under the figure of 
the Roman emperor, and sent an army of gnats to sting the trunks ct 
the elephants, and to discomfit the host of the new Sennadierib. 

•• Julian. Orat. i p. 27. Though Niebuhr (tom. il n. 307) allows 
a rery. considerable swell to the Mygdonius, over which he paw. » 
hridfj^o of twelve arches : it is difficult, howevor. to iindorftt»nd &» 

Digitized by 



By ihe labor of the PerBians, the course of the river was 
stopped below the town, and the waters were confined on everj 
side by solid mounds of earth. On this artifidal lake, a fleet 
of armed vessels filled with soldiers, and with engines which 
discharged stones of five hundred pounds weight, advanoed in 
order of battle, and engaged, almost upon a level, the troops 
which defended the ramparts.^ The irresistible force of the 
waterj was alternately &ital to the contending parties, tall at 
length a portion of the walls, unable to sustain the accumulated 
pressure, gave way at once, and exposed an ample breach of 
one hundred and fifty feet The Persians were instantly 
driven to the assault, and the fate of Nisibis depended on the 
event of the day. The heavy- armed cavalry, who led the 
van of a deep column, were embarrassed in the mud, and 
great numbers were drowjaed in the unseen holes which had 
been filled by the rushing waters. The elephants, made furi- 
ous by their wounds, increased the disorder, and trampled 
down thousands of the Persian archers. The Great King, 
who, from an exalted throne, beheld the misfortunes of his 
arms, sounded, with reluctant indignation, the signal of the 
retreat, and suspended for some hours the prosecution of the 
attack. But the vigilant citizens improved Uie opportunity of 
the nitrht ; and the return of day discovered a new wall of six 
feet in height, rising every moment to fill up the interval of 
the breach* Notwithstanding the disappointment <^ his hopes, 
and the loss of more than twenty thousand me% Sapor still 
pressed the reduction of Nisibis, with an obstinate firmness, 
which could have yielded only to the necessity of defending 
the eastern provinces of Persia against a formidable invasion 
of the Massagetae." Alarmed by this intelligence, he hastily 

parallel of a trifiing rivulet with a niigbty river. There are many dr* 
tmmstanees obscure, and almost unintelligible^ in the description of 
these stupendons water^works. 

•7 We are obliged to Zonaras (torn, il L ziii. p 11) for this invasiou 
of the Maseagetffi, which is perfectly consistent with the general series 
of events to which we are daruy led by the broken Idstory of 

* Macdonald Kionier obflerves on tbeae floating batteries, "As the oleva 
tkm of plaoe is ooosiderably above the level of the country in its immediate 
vicinity, and the Mygdonins is a very insignificant stream^ it is difficult to 
imagine how this work coald have been accomplished, even witb tlie won* 
derml resonroes wbiefa the king must have had at his dispjsaJ " Qeograpli> 
lisal Mcmoiri p. 262.~M. 

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wKnquished the siege, and marched with rapid dSigence from 
(he bacnks of the Tigris to those of the Oxus. The danger and 
diflScalties of the Pythian war engaged him soon afterwards 
to condude, or at least to observe, a truce with the Eoman em- 
peror, which was equally gratefiil to both princes ; as- Oonstan- 
tius himself after the death of his two brothers, was iiiyolved, 
by the revolutions of the West, in a civil contest, which re- 
quired and seemed to exceed the most vigorous exertbn of his 
nndivided strength. 

After the partition of the empire, three years had scartselj 
elapsed before the sons of Constantine seemed impatient to 
convince mankind that they were incapable of contenting 
themselves with the dominions which they were unqualified to 
govern. Ilie eldest of those princes soon oomphiincKl, that he 
was d^auded of his just proportion of the spoils of their 
murdered kinsmen ; and though he might yield to the supe- 
rior guilt and merit of Constantius, he exacted from Gonstans 
the cession of the African provinces, as an equivalent for the 
rich countries of Macedonia and Greece, wluch his brother 
had acquired by the death of Dalmatius. The want of sincer- 
ity, which Constantine experienced in a tedious and fruitless 
negotiation, exasperated the fierceness of his temper; and be 
eagerly listened to those favorites, who suggested to him that 
his honor, as well as his interest, was concerned in the prose- 
Caution of the quarrel. At the head of a tumultuary band, 
suited for rapine rather than for conquest, he suddenly broke 
into the dominions of Gonstans, by the way of the Julian Alps, 
4nd the country round Aquileia felt the first effects of his 
lesentmfent The measures of Oonstans, who then resided in 
Oacia, were directed with more prudence and ability. On the 
news of his brother's invasion, he detached a select and dis- 
ciplined body of his Ulyrian troops, proposing to follow them 
in person, with the remainder of his forces. But the conduct 
of his lieutenants soon terminated the unnatural contest. By 
the artful appearances of flight, Constantine was betarayed into 
an ambuscade, which had been concealed in a wood, where 
the rash youth, with a few attendants, was surprised, sur- 
rounded, and slain. His body, after it had been found in the 
obscure stream of the Alsa, obtained the honors of an Impe- 
rial sepulchre; but his provinces transferred their allegiance 
to the conqueror, who, refusing to admit his elder brothei 
Ck>o«tantius to any share in these new acquisitions, maintained 

Digitized by 


k,D, 350.J ov TBS Bouur smpjox. ItV 

Ihe imdisputed poesessioa of more than two thirds of Um 
R(»i)a& empire.** 

Thd &t6 of GonstaDs himself was delajed about ten jears 
longer^ and the levenge of his brother's death was reserved 
for the more ignoble hand of a domestic traitor. The pep- 
tticiotn tendency of the system introdneed by Ckmstantine wi& 
displayed in the feeble administration of his sons; who^ by 
their vices and weakness, soon lost the esteem and abactions 
of their people. The pride assumed by Constans, from the 
unmerited suceesa of fan arms, was renctored niore contempti- 
ble by his want of abilities and application. His fond partiality 
towards some German captives, distinguished only by the 
charms of youth, was an object of scandal to the people;** 
and M^aentins, an ambitious soldier, who was himself of 
Barbarian extraction, was encouraged by the public discontent 
to assert the honor of the Roman name.'* The chosen bands 
of Jovians and Herculians, who acknowledged Magnentius as 
their leader, maintained the most respectaUe and important 
fttation in the Imperial camp. The friendship of Marcellinus, 
eount of the sacred largesses, supplied with a liberal hand the 
means of seduction. . The soldiers were convinced by the 
most specious arguments, that the republic summoned them to 
break the bonds of hereditary servitude ; and, hy the choice of 
an active and vigilant prince, to reward the same vbrtues 
which had raised the ancestors of the deg^erate Gonstans 
from a private condition to the throne of the world. As soon 
as the conspiia^ was ripe for execution, Marcdlinus, under 

** The causes and the events of this dvil war are related with much 
peiplezily axid contradictiQa. I have chiefly followed Zonaras and the 
younger Victor. The monody (ad Calcem Eutrop. edit Havercamp.) 
{pronounced on the death of Constantlne, might have been very instruc- 
tive ; but prudence and Mse taste engaged the orator to involve him- 
self in vague dedamatioa 

** Quarum {gentium) obsides pretio auiesitos pueros veniutiores 
quod cultius habuerat libidine hujusmooi arsisse pro eerto habetur. 
Had not the depraved taste of Constans been publicly avowed, the 
elder Yiotor, who held a consid^able office in his brother's reign, 
would not have asserted it in such positive terms. 

*' Julian. Orat i and il ZoMm. L ii p. 184. Victor in Epitome. 
There is reason to believe that Magnentius was bom in one of those 
Barbarian colonies which Constantius Chlorus had established in Gaul, 
(see this HiBtory, voL i. p. 414.) His beluivior may remind us of the 
patriot earl of Leiceetor, the &m<ms Simon de Montfort, who could 
nersoade^e good people of England, that he, a fVenehman by birth 
Dad taken amis to deliver them from foreign favoritea 

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tbe pretence of celebrating his son's birthday, gave a splen- 
did entertainment to the illttatrious and honorable persons of 
the court of Gaul, which then resided in the city of Autun. 
The intemperance of the feast was artfully protracted till a 
yettj late hour of the night; and the unsuspecting guests were 
tempted to indulge themselves in a dangerous and guilty free- 
dom of conversation. On a sudden the doors were throwc 
open, and Magnentius, who had retired for a few moments, 
returned into the apartment, invested with the diadem and 
purple. The conspirators instantly saluted him with the titles 
of Augustus and Emperor. The surprise, the terror, the 
intoxication, the ambitious hopes, and the mutual ignorance of 
the rest of the assembly, prompted them to join their voices to 
the general acclamation. The guards hastened to take the 
oath of fidelity; the gates of the town were shut; and before 
the dawn of day, Magnentius became master of the troops 
and treasure of the palace and city of Autun. . By his secrecy 
and diligence he entertained some hopes of surprising the 
person of Constans, who was pursuing in the adjacent forest 
his &vonte amusement of hunting, or perhaps some pleasures 
of a more private and criminal nature. The rapid progress 
of &me allowed him, however, an instant ht flight, though 
the desertion of his ' soldiers and subjects deprived him of the 
power of resistance. Before he could reach a seaport in 
Spain, where he intended to embark, he was overtaken near 
Helena," at the foot of the Pyrenees, by a party of light 
cavalry, whose chie^ regardless of the sanctity of a temple, 
executed his commission by the murder of the son of Constan- 

As soon as the death of Constans had decided this easy but 
important revolution, the example of the court of Autun was 
imitated by the provinces of the West The authority of 
Magnentius was acknowledged through the whole extent pf 
the two great prsefectures of Gaul and Italy ; and the usurper 

^^ This ancient city had once flourished under the name <xr Sliberis 
(PomDonius Mela, ii. 5.) The munificence of Oonstantine gare it new 
splenaor, and his mother's name. Helena ^it is still called Eln'e) be- 
came the seat of a bishop, who long afterwards transferred his resi- 
dence to Perpignan, the capital of modern Rousillon. See D'AnviUe. 
Notice de I'Ancienne Gaule, p. 880. Longuerue, Description de la 
France, p^ 228, and the Marca Hispanica, L I c 2. 

^' Zosuaus, I ii. p. 11 9; 120^ Zonaras, torn, il I xiil p. 18, and thi 

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A.D. 350.] Of TH£ ROMAN BMPIRB. tit 

pirepared, by every act of oppression, to collect a treasore, 
wbich might discharge the obligation of an immense dosaiive, 
and supply the expenses of a civil war. The martial ooanlriea 
of Ulyricum, from the Danube to the extremity of Grwce, 
had long obeyed the goviemment of Vetranio, an aged gen- 
eral, beloved for the simplicity of his manners, and who had 
acquire some reputation by his experience and services in 
war.'* Attached by habit, by duty, and by gratitude, to the 
house of Constantine, he immediately gave the strongest 
assurances to the only surviving son of his late master, thai 
he would expose, with unshaken fidelity, his person and his 
troops, to inflict a just revenge on the traitors of Gaul. But 
the legions of Vetranio were seduced, rather than provoked, 
by the example of rebellion ; their leader soon betrayed a 
want of firmness, or a want of sincerity; and hb ambition 
derived a specious pretence from the approbation of the prin- 
cess Constantina. That cruel and aspiring woman, who had 
obtained from the great Constantine, her father, the rank of 
Augusta^ placed the diadem with her own hands on the head 
of the Illyrian general ; and seemed to expect from his victory 
the accomplishment of those unbounded nopes, of which she 
had been disappointed by the death of her husband Hanni- 
balianus. Perhaps it was without the consent of Constantina, 
that the new emperor formed a necessary, though dishonorable, 
alliance with the usurper of the West, whose purple was so 
recently stained with her brother's blood.'* 

The intelligence of these important events, which so deeply 
ftflfected the honor and safety of the Imperial house, recalled 
the arms of Constantius from the inglorious prosecution of the 
Persian war. He recommended the care of the East to his 
lieutenants, and afterwards to his cousin Gallus, whom he 
raised from a prison to a throne ; and marched towards Eu- 
rope, with a mind agitated by the conflict of hc^ and fear, 
of grief and indignation. On his arrival at Heraclea in 
Thrace, the emperor gave audience to the ambassadors of 

'• Eutropius (x. 10) describes Vetranio with more temper, and prob* 
ablj with more truth, than eitiher of the two Victors. Vetranio was 
l*om of obscure parents in the wildest parts of Mtesia ; and so much 
kad Lis education beeii neglected, that, after his elevation, he studied 
Uio aldbabet 

'* The doubtful, fluctuating conduct of Vetranio is described by 
f uli&n in his first oration, and accurately explained by Spanheim, who 
^liacuse !& the situation and behavior of Constantina. 

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Magnentius and Velranio. The first author of tho coli^inu^ 
MaroeUinus, who in some measure had bestowed the pturple 
on hia new master, boldly aocepted this dangerous commit* 
sion ; and his three colleagues were selected fVom the illua* 
trious personages of the state and army. These deputies 
were instructed to soothe the resentment, and to alarm the 
fears, of Gonstantiua. They were empowered to offer him the 
friendship and alliance of the western princes, to cement their 
union by a double marriage ; of Oonstantius with the daughter 
of Magnentius, and of Mi^entius himself with the ambitious 
Constantina; and to acknowledge in the treaty the preemi- 
nence of rank, which might justly be claimed by the emperor 
of the East 8hould pride and mistaken piety ui^ him to 
refuse these equitable conditions, the ambassadors were ordered 
to expatiate on the inevitable ruin which must attend his rash- 
ness, if he ventured to provoke the sovereigns of the West to 
exert their superior strength ; and to employ against him that 
valor, those abilities, and those legions, to which the house of 
Constantine had been indebted for so many triumphs. Stich 
propositions and such arguments appeared to deserve the most 
serious attention ; the answer of Oonstantius was deferred till 
the next day ; and as he had reflected on the importance of 
justifying a civil war in the opinion of the people, he thus 
addressed his council, who listened with real or affected cre- 
dulity : '* Last night,'' said he, " after I retired to rest, thr 
shade of the great Constantine, embracing die corpse of my 
murdered brother, rose before my eyes ; his well-known voice 
awakened me to revenge, forbade me to.desp^ of the repub- 
lic, and assured me of the success and immortal glory which 
would crown the justice of my arms." The authority of such 
a visibn, or rather of the prince who alleged it, silenced every 
doubt, and excluded all n^otiation. The ignominious term? 
of peace were rejected with disdain. One of the ambassadors 
of the tyrant was dismksed with the haughty answer of Oon- 
stantius ; his colleagues, as unworthy of the privileges of th« 
law of nations, were put in irons ; and*the contending powers 
prepared to wage an implacable war.^* 

Such was the conduct^ and such perhaps was the duty, of 
the brother of Oonstans towards the perfidious usurper of Gaul. 
The situation and character of Vetranio admitted of milder 
measures ; and the policy of the Eastern emperor was dire<?ied 

** Bee Peter the Patrician. In the Excerpta LegaUonoin p. l*t. 

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to disunite his antagonists, and to separate the forces of lUjii- 
cum from the cause of rebellion. It was an easy taek to 
deceive tha frankness and simplicity of Vetranio^ who, fluctu- 
ating some time between the. opposite views of honor and 
interest^ displayed to the world the insincerity of his temper, 
and was insensibly engaged in the snares of an artful Begotia- 
iion. Constantius acknowledged him as a legitimate ^d eqilal 
colleague in the empire, on condition that he would renounce 
his (^^aceful alliance with Magnentius, and* appoint a place 
of interview on the frontiers of their respective provinces ; 
where they might pledge their friendship by mutual vows of 
tiJelity, and regulate by common consent the future operations 
of the civil war. In consequence of this agreement^ Yet^raiuo 
advanced to the city of Sardica,^" at the head of twenty thou 
sand horse, and of a. more numerous body of infantry ; a power 
so far superior to the forces of Coust^itius, that the Illyrian 
emperor appeared to command the life and fortunes of his 
rival, who^ depending on the success of bis private n^otia- 
tions, had seduced the troops, and undermined the throne, of 
Vetranio. The chiefe, who had secretly embraced the parly 
of Constantius, prepared in his fcivor a public spectacle, calcu- 
lated to discover and inflame the passions of the multitude." 
The united armies were commanded to assemble in a large 
plain near the city. In the centre, according to the rules of 
ancient discipline, a military tribunal, or rather scaffi>Id, was 
erected, from whence the emperors were accustomed, on 
solemn and important occasions, to harangue the troops. The 
well-ordered ranks of Romans and Barbarians, with drawn 
swords, or with erected spears, the squadrons of cavalry, and 
the cohorts of infantry, distinguished by the variety of their 
arms and eiisigns, formed an immense circle round the tribu- 
nal; and the attentive silence which they preserved was 
sometimes interrupted by loud bursts of clamor or of applause 
In the presence of this formidable assembly, the two emperors 
were called upon to explain the situation of public affairs: 
(he precedency of rank was yielded to the royal birth of 

— . • ■ ' ■ ■ ' ' ' s ' 

^^ Zonaras, torn, il L ziii, p. 16. The position of Sfqrdica, near the 
modern city of Sophia, appears better suited to this interview than the 
situation of either Kaiasus or Sirmium, where it is placed by Jerom, 
Socrates, and Sozomea 

" See the two first orations of Julian, particularljr p. 81 ; and Zom> 
nos, L il p. 122. The distinct narrative of the mstoriaii serTes tt 
ainstrate the diffu^^e but vague descriptions of the orator.^ 

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Its TB£ OECLINE AND FALL [A. D. 8ft0. 

Consiantios ; and though he was indifferentlj skilled ia the arte 
of rhetoric, he acquitted himself, under these difficult drcum* 
stances, with firmness, dexterity, and eloquence. The first 
part of his oration seemed to be pointed onlj against the 
tyrant of Gaul ; but while he tragically lamented the cruel 
murder of Cotistans, he insinuated, that none, except a brother, 
ooVdd claim a right to the succession of his brother. He dis- 
played, with some complacency, the glories of his Imperial 
race ; and recalled to the memory of the troops the valor, the 
triumphs, the liberality of the great Cuustantine, to whose sons 
they had engaged their allegiance by an oath of fidelity, 
which the ingratitude of his most favored servants had tempted 
them to violate. The officers, who surrounded the tribunal, 
and were instructed to act their part in this extraordinary 
scene, confessed the irresistible power of reason and elo- 
quence, by saluting the emperor Constantius as their lawful 
sovereign. The contagion of loyalty and repentance was 
communicated from rank to rank ; till the plain of Sardica 
resounded with the universal acclamation of "Away with 
these upstart usurpers ! Long life and victory to the son of 
Constantine ! Under his banners alone we will fight and con- 
quer." The shout of thousands, their menacing gestures, 
the fierce clashing of their arms, astonished and subdued the 
courage of Vetranio, who stood, amidst the defection of bis 
followers, in anxious and silent suspense. Instead of em- 
bracing the last refuge of generous despair, hei tamely sub- 
mitted to his fiite ; and taking the diadem from his head, in 
the view of both armies fell prostrate at the feet of his con- 
queror. Constantius used his victory with prudence and 
moderation ; and raising from the ground the aged suppliant, 
whom he affected to style by the endearing name of Father, 
ne gave him his hand to descend from the throne. The city 
of Prusa was assigned for the exile or retirement of the abdi- 
cated monarch, who lived six years in the enjoyment of ease 
and affluence. He often expressed his grateful sense of the 
goodness of Constantius, and, with a very amiable simplicity, 
advised his benefactor to resign the sceptre of the world, an(l 
to seek for content (where alone it could be found) in the 
peaceful obscurity of a private condition.'* 

'• The younger Victor assigns to his exile the emphatical appella- 
UoD of " Voluptarium otium." Socrates (L ii. c. 28) is the voucner for 
ihe ecnresponaence with the emperor, which would seem to prove tlial 
VsUanio wtaf, indeed, prope ad stultitiam simplidssimus. 

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4.:D.351.] OF THB ROMAN EMPIRE. 193 

The behavior of CoDstantius on this memorable ooctisioB 
was celebrated with some appearance of justice ; and his coiit' 
tiers compared the studied orations which a Pericles or a 
Demosthenes addressed to the populace of Athens, with the 
victorious eloquence which had persuaded an armed multitude 
to desert and depose the object of their partial choice/' The 
approaching contest with Magnentius was of a more serious 
and bloody kind. The tyrant advanced by rapid marches to 
encounter Constantius, at the head of a numerous army, com- 
Vosed ei Gauls and Spaniards, of Franks and Saxons; of 
dioee provincials who supplied the strength of the legions, and 
Qf those barbarians who were dreaded as the most formidable 
ftnemies of the republic. The fertile plains'® of the Lower 
Pannonia, between the Drave, the Save, and the Danube, pre- 
sented a spacious theatre ; and the operations of the civil war 
were protracted during the ^summer months by the skill or 
timidity of the combatants.'* Constantius had declared his 
intention of deciding the quarrel in the fields of Cibalis, a 
name that would animate his troops by the remembrance of 
the victory, which, on the same auspicious ground, had been 
obtained by the arms of his ^Either Constaniine. Yet by the 
impregnable fortifications with which the emperor encompassed 
his camp, he appeared to decline, rather than to invite, a gen« 
era! engagement. It wias the object of Magnentius to tempt 
or to compel his adversary to relinquish this advantageous 
position ; and he employed, with that view, the various marches, 
evolutions, and stratagems, which the knowledge of the art of 
war could suggest to an experienced officer. He carried by 
assault the important town of Siscia ; made an attack on the 

^' Eum OoDstantias facundias vi dejectum Imperio in pri- 

▼atmn otium removit Qiue gloria post Datum Imperium soli proces- 
sit elo<|uio dementi^iie, &e. Aureuus Victor. Julian, and Themistiua 
(Orat. liL and iv.) adorn this exploit with all the artificial and gaudy 
coloriog oi their rhetor>a 

®° Busbequiufl (p. 112) traversed the Lower Hungary and. Sclavonia 
at a time when they were reduced almost to a deaert, by the recipro- 
cal hostilities of the l^urks and Christians. Yet he mentions with 
»idmiratio<i the unconquerable fertility of the soil ; and observes that 
the height of the grass was sufficient to conceal a loaded wagon firom 
his sight. See likewise Browne's Travels, in Harris's Collection, voL 
ii. p. le^j cfea 

" Zoeimps gives a very large account of the war, and tho negotia* 
ticx), (I il p. 123 — 130.) But as he neither shows himself a soldier 
qor a politician, his rarrative must be weighed with attention, and w- 
eeived with caution. 

Vol. II— T 

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city of Sirmium, which lay in the rear of the Imperial camp, 
uttempted to force a passage over the Save into the eastern 
provinces of Illyricum ; and cut in pieces a numerous detach- 
ment^ which he had allured into the narrow ptiBses of Adarne. 
During the greater part of the summer, the tyrant of Gaul 
showed himself master of the field. The troops of Constan- 
tius were harassed and dispirited; his reputation declined in 
the eye of the world ; and his pride condescended to solicit a 
treaty of peace, which would have resigned to the assassin of 
Constans the sovereignty of the provinces beyond the Alps. 
These offers were enforced by the eloquence of Philip the 
Imperial ambassador ; and the council as well as the army 
of Magnentius were disposed to accept them. But the haughty 
usurper, careless of the remonstrances of his ftiends, gave 
orders that Philip should be detained as a captive, or, at least, 
as a hostage ; while he despatched an officer to reproach Con- 
Rtantius with the weakness of his reign, and to insult him by 
the promise of a pardon if he would instantly abdicate the 
purple. " That he should confide in the justice of his cause, 
and the protection of an avenging Deity," was the only answer 
which honor permitted the emperor to return. But he was so 
sensible of the difficulties of his situation, that he no longer 
dared to retaliate the indignity which had been offered to his 
representative. The negotiation of Philip was not, however, 
ineffectual, since he determined Sylvanus the Frank, a general 
of merit and reputation, to desert with a considerable body of 
cavalry, a few days before the battle of Mursa. 

The city of Mursa, or Essek, celebrated in modern times 
for a bridge of boats, ^ve miles in length, over the River Drave, 
and the adjacent morasses,®' has been always considered as a 
place of importance in the wars of Huhgary. Magnentius, 
directing his march towards Mursa, set fire to the gates, and, 
by a sudden assault, had almost scaled the walls of the town. 
The vi^lance of the garrison extinguished the flames ; the ap* 
proach of Constantius left him no time to continue the opera- 
tions of the siege ; and the emperor soon removed the only 
obstacle that could embarrass his motions, by forcing a body 
of troops which had taken post in an adjoining amphitheatre. 

** This remarkable bridge, which is flanked with towers, and sup- 
ported on large wooden piles, was constructed A. D. 1566, by Sultoo 
Sollman, to fiudlitate the march of his armies into Hungary. Se« 
firoiroa*8 Travels, and Busching's System of Geography, rol. t 
p. 90. 

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A.D. 351.] OF THE KOMAN BMPIRS. 195 

The fielded battle round Marsa was a naked and level plain : 
on this ground the army of Constantius formed, with the Drave 
on their right ; wliile their left, either from the nature of their 
disposition, or from the superiority of their cavalry, extended 
far beyond the right flank of Magnentius/* The troops on 
both sides remained under arms, in anxious expectation, during 
the greatest part of the morning ; and the son of Constantine, 
ifter animating his soldiers by an eloquent speech, retired into 
a church at some distance *from the field of battle, and com- 
mitted tc his generals this conduct of this decisive day.** They 
deserved his confidence by the valor and military skill which 
they exerted. They wisely b^an the action upon the left ; 
and advancing their whole wing of cavalry in an oblique line, 
\hey suddenly wheeled it on the right flank of the enemy, 
which was unprepared to resist the impetuosity of their charge. 
But the Romans of the West soon rained, by the haHts of dis- 
cipline ; and the Barbarians of Germany supported the renown 
of their national bravery. The engagement soon became 
general; was maintained with various and singular tarns of 
fortune ; and scarcely ended with the darkness of the night. 
The signal victory which Constantius obtained is attributed to 
the arms of his cavalry. His cuirassiers are described as so 
many massy statues of steel, glittering with their scaly armor, 
and breaking with their ponderous lances the firm array of the 
Gallic legions. As soon as the legions gave way, the lighter 
and more active squadrons of the second line rode sword in 
hand into the intervals, and completed the disorder. In the 
mean while, the huge bodies of the Germans were exposed 
almost naked to the dexterity of the Oriental archers; and 
whole troops of those Barbarians were urged by anguish and 
despair to precipitate themselves into the broad and rapid 
stream of tJtie Drave.** The number of the slain was com*. 

•• This position, and the subsequent evolutions, are clearly, though 
ooQcisely, described by Julian, Orat. i. p. 36. 

*^ Sidpicius Severus, L IL p. 405. The emperor passed the day ia 
prayer with Yalena, the Arian bishop of Mursa, who gained lii? oon- 
ndenco by announciDg the success of the battle. M. de Tillemont 
(Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 1110) very properiy remarks th« 
silence of Julian with regard to tre personal prowess bi Constantius in 
the batUe of Miirsa. The silence of flattery is sometimes equal to the 
most positive and authentic evidence. 

•* Julian. Orat. i. p. 36, 37; and Orat. il p. 59, 60. Zonaras, torn 
ii L xiil p. 17. Zosimus, L il p. 130 — 183. The last of these cele- 
brates Ihe dexterity of the archer Menelaus, who could discliarga 

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puted at fifty-four thousand meu, and the slaughter df the oon^ 
q[uerors was more considerable than that of the ranquished ; ** 
a circumstance which proves the obstinacy of the contest, and 
justifies the observation of an ancient writer, iihat the forces 
of the empire were consumed in the fatal battle of Mursa, by 
the loss of a veteran army, sufficient to defend the fix>ntiers, 
or to add new tiiumphs to the glory of Bome."^ Notwith- 
standing the invectives of a servile orator, there is not the least 
reason to believe that the tyrant deserted his own standard in 
the beginning of the engagement. He seems to have dis- 
played tlie virtues of a general and of a soldier till the day 
was. irrecoverably lost, and his camp in the possession of the 
enemy. Magnentius then consulted his safety, ^nd throwing 
away the Imperial ornaments, escaped with some difficulty 
from the pursuit of the light, horse, who incessantly followed 
his r^pid flight from the banks of the Drave to the foot of thp 
Julian Alps."* 

The approach of winter supplied the indolence of Gonstan- 
tins with specious reasons for deferring the prosecution of the 
war till the ensuing spring. Magnendus had fixed his residence 
in the city of Aquileia, and showed a seeming resolution to 
dispute the passage of the mountains and morasses which for- 
tified the confines of the Venetian province. The surprisal 
of a castle in the Alps by the secret march of the Imperralbts, 
could scarcely have determined him to relinquish the possession 

three arrows at the same time ; an advantage which, according to his 
apprehension of military aflfeirs, materially contributed to the victory 
of ConstantiuB. . 

^'^ Accordipg to Zooaras, Oonstantius, out o( 80,000 men, lost 30,000 ; 
and Magnentius lost 24,000 out of 36,000. The other articles of this 
account seem probable and authentic, but the numbers of the tyrant's 
army must have been mistaken, either by the author or his tran- 
scribers. Magnentius had collected the whole force of the West, Ro- 
mans and Barbarians, into one formidable body, which cannot fiiirly be 
estimated at less than 100,000 men. Juliaa Orat i. p. 34, 35. 

" Ingentes B. I. vires ea dimicatione consumptss sunt, ad qusaUbet 
bella externa id<»iei&, qufl^ multum triumphprum possent secorita- 
tisque conferre. . Eutropius, x. 13. The younger Victor ezpresaes 
himself to the sama effect 

^^ On this occasion, we must prefer the unsuspecl-ed testimoay of 
^simu^ and Zororas to the flattering assertions of Julian. The 
^ounger Victor psdnts the character of Magnentius in a singular light : 
" Sermoois acer, animi tumidi, et immodice timidus ; artifez tanien ad 
occultandam audacise specie formidinem." Is it most likely that in 
the battle of Miursa his behavior was governed by natiu'e or by wrt ? ] 
should incline f'»r the latter. 

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of Itl^ly, if the inclinatioDS of the people had supported th€ 
cause of their tyrant.** But the memory of the cruelties 
exei-cised bj his ministers, after the unsuccessful revolt ol 
Nepotiain, had left a deep impression of horror and resentment 
on the minds of the Romans. That rash youth, the son of the 
princess Eutropia, and the nephew of Constantine, had seen 
with indignation the sceptre of the West usurped by a perfidi*. 
ons barbarian. Arming a desperate troop of slaves and glad- 
iators, he overpowered the feeble guard of the domestic 
tranquillity of Rome, received the homage of the senate, and 
assuming the title of Augustus, precariously reigned during a 
tumult of twenty-eight days. The march of some regmaf 
forces put an end to his ambitious hopes : the rebellion was 
extinguished in the blood of Nepotian, of his mother Eutropi^, 
and of his adherents ; and the proscription was extended to all 
who had contracted a fatal alliance with the name and ^mily 
of Constantine.** But as soon as Constantius, after the battle 
of Mursa, became master of the sea-coast of Dalmatia, a band 
of noble exiles, who had ventured to equip a fleet in some 
harbor of the Adriatic, sought protection and revenge in his 
victorious camp. By their secret intelligence with their coun- 
trymen, Rome and the Italian cities were persuaded to display 
the banners of Constantius on their walls. The grateful vet- 
erans, enriched by the liberality of the father, signalized their 
gratitude and loyalty to the son. ' The cavalry, the legions, 
and the auxiliaries of Italy, renewed their oath of allegiance 
to Constantius; and the usurper, alarmed by the general 
desertion, was compelled, with the remains of his faithful 
troops, to retire beyond the Alps into the provinces of Gaul. 
The detachments, however, which were ordered either to press 
.or to intercept the flight of Magnentius, conducted themselves 
with the usual imprudence of success ; and allowed him, in 
the plains of Pavia,. an opportunity of turning on his pur- 

** Juliaa Oral l p 88, S9. In that place, however, as well os in 
Oration IL p. 97, be insinuatee the general disposition of the senate, the 
people, ana the soldiers of Italy, towards the party of the emperor. 

'* Tlie elder Victor describes, in a pathetic nuinner, the miserable 
condition of Rome : ** Coins stoUdnm iogenium adeo P. B. pairibusque 
ezitio fuit, nti passim domns, fora, yisd, templaque, crnore^ cadaveri- 
hmqne opplerentur bustornm modo.'* Athanasius (torn. L jp. 671^ 
deplores the fate of several illustrions victims, and Julian (Orai. ii 
p 58) execrates the cruelty of MarceUinus, the implacable enemy of tli# 
MUse of Confltantine. 

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Buers, and of gratifying his despsur bj the carnage of a iiaelen 

The pride of Magnentius was reduced, by repeated mis- 
fortunes, to sue, and to sue in vain, for peace. He firs) 
despatched a senator, in whose abilities he confided, and after- 
wards several bishops, whose holy character might obtain h 
more &vorable audience, with the offer of resigning the pur 
pie, and the promise of devoting the remainder of his life to 
the service of the emperor. But Constantius, though he granted 
fair terms of pardon and reconciliation to all who abandoned 
the standard of rebellion,*' avowed his inflexible resolution to 
inflict a just punishment on the crimes of an assassin, whom 
he prepared to overwhelm on every side by the effort of his 
victorious arms. An Imperial fleet acquired the easy pos- 
session of Africa and Spain, confirmed the wavering £Edth; of 
the Moorish nations, and landed a considerable force, which 
passed the Pyrenees, and advanced towards Lyons, the la-'^t 
and fatal station of Magnentius.*' The temper of the tyrant, 
which was never inclined to clemency, was urged by distress 
to exercise every act of oppression which could extort an im- 
mediate supply from the cities of GauL'* Their patience was 
at leAgth exhausted ; and Treves, the seat of Praetorian govern- 
ment, gave the signal of revolt, by shutting her gates against 
D^centius, who had been raised by his brother to the rank 
either of Caesar or of Augustus.** From Treves, Deoentius 
was obliged to retire to Sens, where, he was soon surrounded 
by an army of Germans, whom the pernicious arts of Con- 
stantius had introduced into the civil dissensions of Rome.** 

"' Zosim. L IL p. 138. Victor in Epitome. The panegyrists of Con- 
stantius, with their usual candor, forget to mention this accidental de- 

"* Zonaras, tom. it L xiii. p. IT. Julian, in several places of the two 
orations, expatiates on the clemency of Oonstantius to the rebels. 

•• Zosim. 1. il p. 188. Julian. Orat i. p. 40, it p. 74. 

•* Ammian. xv. 6. Zosim. L ii p. 128. Julian, who (Orat i. p. 40) 
mveigbs agamst the cruel effects of the tyranfs despair, mentions 
(Orat L p. 84^ the oppressive edicts which were dictated by his neces- 
sities, or i}v ms avarice. His subjects were compelled to purchase the 
Imperial demesnes ; a doubtful and dangerous species of property, 
which, in case of a revolution, might be imputed to them as a treason* 
tble usurpation. 

'^ The medals of Magnentius celebrate the victories of the two Au^ 
gusti, and of the Cesar. The Caesar was anotlier brother, named I>»* 
ttleriofl. See Tillemont, Hist des Empereqrs, torn. iv. p. 767. 

'* Julian. Orat i. p. 40, ii. p. 74 ; with Spanhcim, p. 268. Hi» 

Digitized by 


A.D.35(>.] OF niB iiOMAN EMPIRE. IHV 

In ihe mean time, the Imperial troops forced the pasaages of 
the Cottian Alps, and in the bloody combat of Mount Selcacus 
irrevocably fixed the title of rebels on. the party of Ma^en- 
tios.'^ He was unable to bring another army into the field ; 
the fidelity of his guards was corrupted ; and when he appeared 
m public to animate them by his exhortations, he was saluted 
wiUi a unanimous shout of '* LoQg live the emperor Con- 
•tantiusP The tyrant, who perceived that they were pre- 
paring to deserve pardon and rewards by the sacrifice of the 
most obnoxious criminal, prevented their design by falling on 
his sword ;"* a death more easy and more honorable than he 
could b^pe to obtain from the hands of an enemy, whoso 
revenge would have been colored with the specious pretence 
of justice and fraternal piety. The example of suicide was 
imitated by Decentius, who strangled himself on the news of 
"his brother's death. The author of the conspiracy, Marcel- 
linus, had long since disappeared in Uie battle of Mursa,** and 
the public tranquillity was confirmed by the execution of the 
surviving leaders of a guilty and unsuccessful faction. A 
severe inquisition was extended over all who, either from 

Commentary illustrates the transactions of tliis civil war. M0118 
Seleud was a small place in the Cottian Alps, a few miles distant from 
Va^incmn, or Gap, an episcopal city of Dauphin^. See D'Anville, 
Notice de la Gaule, p. 464 ; ana Longuerue, Description de la France, 
p. 827 * 

'^ Zosimus, L il p. 134. liban. Orat x. p. 268, 269. The latter 
nofit vehementlj arraigns this cruel and selfish policy of Constan- 

*^ Julian. Orat i. p. 40. Zosimus, L ii. p. 184. Socrates, L ii c. 32. 
Sozomen, L iv. c 7. The younger Victor describes his. death witli 
some horrid circumstances: Transfosso latere, ut erat vasti corpo- 
ris, Yulnere naribusque et ore cniorem effundens, exspiravit. If we 
can give credit to Zonaras, the tyrant^ before he expired, had t)ie 
pleasure of murdering, with his own hand, his mother and his brother 

•• Julian (Orat. I p. 68, 69) seems at a loss to determine, whether 
he inflicted on himself the punishment of his crimes, whether he was 
drowned in the Drave, or whether he was can*ied by the avenging 
dffimons from tlie field of battle to his destined place of eternal tor« 

• The Itinerary of Antoniniis (p. 357, ed. Wcsa.) places Mod9 Seleacuf 
twenty-fimr miles fiom Vapinicun, (Gap,) and twenty-six from Lncns, (le 
Lnc,) on Uie road to Die, (Dea Vocontionim.) The sitaatioD answers tn 
Alont Sal^n. a little place on the ri^ht of the small river BdcgIi, which faUi 
mto the Darance. Roman antiquities have been found «« /hii place. 9l 
Ma.*tiQ. Note to Lo Beau. ii. 47. — M. 

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choice or from compulsion, had been inyolved in the cause of 
rebellion. Paul, surnamed Catena from bis superior skill in 
the judicial exercise of tyranny,* was sent to explore the latent 
remains of the conspiracy in the remote pr6viBce of Britain. 
The honest indignation expressed by Martin, yice-prsefect of 
the island, was interpreted as an evidence of his own guilt; 
and the governor was urged to the necessity of turning against 
his breast the sword with which he had . been provoked to 
wcund the Imperial minister. The most innocent subjects of 
the West were exposed to exile and confiscation, to death and 
torture ; and as the timid are always cruel, the mind of Con* 
itantius was inaccessible to mercy.^** 

^^ Ammian. ziv. 6, zzl 16. 

* ThiB ia Bcaroely correct, nt erat in complicandis ncgotiis artifex dira« 
lade ei Cateiui inoitam est oognomentam. Amm. Blar. loc. cit. — ^11. 

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COBSTAlinua SOLB emperor. ^BLEVATIOIT and death 09 0A1> 


The divided proYinces of the empire were again united b; 
the victory of Constantitis ; but as that feeble prince was des- 
titute of personal merit, either in peace or war; as he feared 
his generis, and distrusted his ministers ; the triumph of his 
arms served only to estaUishlhe reign of the eunttchs over the 
Roman world. Those unhappy beings, the andent produc- 
tion of Oriental jealousy and despotism,* were introduced 
into Greece and Rome by the contagion of Asiatic luxury.* 
Their progress was rapid ; and the eunuchs, who, in the time 
of Augustus, had been abhorred, as the monstrous retinue of 
an Egyptian queen,* were gradually admitted into the families 
of matrons, of senators, and of the emperors theniselves.* 

*■ Ammianus (L xiv. c. 6) imputes the first practice of castration to 
the cruel ingenuity of Semiramis, who is supposed to have reined 
above nineteen hundred years before Christ Viie use of eunuchs is of 
h^h antiquity, both in Asia and E^fpt They are mentioned in the 
law of Moses, Deuteroa zxxiil 1. See Goguet, Origines des Loiz, 
&C, Part i i i c. 3. 

* Eunuchum dixti velle te ; 
Quia soke utuntur his regino — 

Terent Eunuch, act I scene 2. 
This phiy is transited from Meander, and the original must haTa 
appeared soon after the eastern conquests of Alexander. 

* Miles. . . .spaobnibus 
Scrvire rugosis potest. 

Horat Oarm. v. 9, and Dacier ad loc. 
By the word tpado, the Romans very forcibly expressed their 
abhorrence of tliis mutilated condition The Greek appellation of 
eunudis, which insensibly prevailed, had a milder sound, and a more 
. ambiguous sense. 

* We need only mention Fosides, a frecdman and eunuch of Clau- 
dius, in whose favor the emperor prostituted some of the most han* 
ffaUe rewards of military valor. See Sueton. in Claudio, cl 2a 
Poudes «Drfdoyed a great part of his wealth in building. 

TJt Sviido vincebat Capitolia Nostra 

Juvenal. Sst sit. 

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Restrmued by the severe edicts of Domitian and Nerva, 
cherished by the pride of Diocletian, reduced to an humblo 
station by the prudence of Constantine,* they multiplied in the 
palaces of his degenerate sons, and insensibly acquired the 
knowledge, and at length the direction^ of the secret council! 
of Constantius. 'The aversion and contempt which mankind 
had so uniformly entertained for that imperfect species, ap- 
pears to have degraded their character, and. to have rendered 
Uiern almost as incapable as they were supposed to be, of con< 
ceiving any generous sentiment, or of performing any worthy 
action.^ But the eunuchs were skilled m the arts of flattery 
and intrigue; and they alternately governed the mind of Con- 
stantius by his fears, his inddence, and his vanity.* Whilst 
he viewed in a deceitful mirror .the &ir appearance of public 
prosperity, he supinely permitted them to intercept the com- 
plaints of the injured provinces, to accumulate immense trea^)- 
ures by the sale of justice and of honors; to disgrace the ncKjst 
important dignities, by the proniotion of those who had pur- 
chased at their hands the powers of oppression,' and to gratify 

* Castrari mares vetuit. Sueton. in Domitian. c, *l. See Dioi> 
Oassius, L Ixvil p. 1107, 1. Ixviil p. 1119. 

* There is a passage in the Angustan History, p. IS*?, in which 
Lampridius, whilst he praises Alexander Severus and Oonstaotine 
for restraimng the tjramiy of the eunuchs, deplores the nuschiefd 
which they occasioned in other reigns. Hue accedit quod eunuchos 
nee in consiliis nee in ministeriis habuit ; qui soli principes perdunt, 
dum eos more gentium aut regum Persarum volunt vivere; qui a 
populo etiam amidssimum semovent ; qui internuntii sunt^ aliud quam 
respondetur, referentes ; daudentes principem suum, et agentes anUt 
onmia ne quid sciat 

"* Xeiiophon (Cyropdedia, L viii. p. 540) has stated the specious rea* 
sons which engaged Cyrus to intrust his person to the guard of 
eunuchs. He had observed in animals, that although the practice of 
castration might tame their ungovernable fierceness, it did not di- 
minish their strength or spirit ; and he persuaded himself, that those 
who were separated from the rest of human kind, would be more 
firmly attached to the person of their benefactor. But a long ex- 
perience has contradicted the judgment of Gyrus. Some particular 
mstances may occur of eunuchs d^inguished by their fidelity, their 
valor, and their abilities ; but if we examine the general history of 
Pel Bia, India, and China, we shall find that the power of the eunuchfl ' 
has uniformly marked the decline and fall of every dynasty. ^ 

* See Ammianus Marcellinus, L xxl c 16, 1. xxii. c. 4 The whole 
tenor of his impartial history serves to justify the invectives of Mam- 
ertinus, of labanius, and of Julian himself, who have insulted the vioei 
of the court of Constantius. 

* Aurclius Victor censures the negligence of his soverei^ in cfaoo» 

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A, 0.363.*] or TAX roman xmpirb, 208 

their resentment against the few independent spirits, who 
arrogantly refused to sc^t.the protection of slaves. Of these 
slaves the meet distinguished was tiie chamberlaiii Eusebiua, 
who ruled the monarch and the palace with sucJu absolute 
swajy that Const^ntius, according to the sarcasm oc an impar* 
tial historian, possessed some credit with this haughiy &vorite/' 
Bj hia artfiil suggestions, the emperor was persuaded to sub- 
acribe the condemnation of the unfortunate Gallus, and to add 
a new crime to tihe long list of unnatural.murders which pollute 
£he honor of the house of Oonstantine. 

When the two nephews of Constaatioe, Gallus and Johan, 
were saved from the furj of .the scUieffs, the former w.'«s about 
cwelve, and . the latter about six, jears of age ; and, as the 
eldeat was thought to be <^ a aicklj constitution, they obtained 
with the less difiBcultj a precanous and dependent li^ from 
che affected pity, of Constantius, . who was sensible that the 
'uecution of these helpless orphans would have been esteemed, 
by all mankind, an act of the most deliberate cruelty." * 
Difterent cities of Ionia and Bithynia were assigned for the 
places of their exile and education ; but as soon as their grow- 
ing years excited the jealousy of the emperor, he iudged it 
more prudent to secure thiDse unhappy youths in the strong 
castle of Maoellum, near Csesarea. The treatment which they 
experienced daring a six years' confinement, was partly such 
as they could hope from a careful guardian, and partly such 
as they might dread from a suspidous tyrant" Their prison 

hag the goTernors of the provinces, and the generals of the army, and 
coadudes his histoiy with a very bold observation, as it is much 
more dangerous under a feeble, reign to attack the miiUBters than the 
master himselt " Uti yerum abflolvam brevi, ut Imperatore ipso da 
rios ita apparitorum plerisque magis atrox nihiU' 

'* Apud quern (si vere did dcbeat) multum Constantius potult 
AmmJan. L xviii c 4. 

" Gregory Nazianzen (Orat iii. p. 90) reproadies the apostate with 
his ingratitude towards Mark, bishop of Arethusa, who had cnn- 
tributed to save his life ; and we learn, though from a less respectable 
Authority, (Tillemont, Hist, des Kmpereurs, torn. iv. p. 916,) that Julian 
vas concealed in the sanctuary of a church. 

^' The most authentic account of the education and adventures of 
Julian is contained in the epistle or manifesto which he himself address- 
ed to the senate and people of Athens. libanius, (Orat Parentalis,) 
on the side of the Pagans, and Socrates, (L iil c. 1,) on that of the 
Christians, have preserved several interesting circumstances. 

* Gsllns and Jalian were not sons of the same mother. Their father, 
Jvlhis Constantius, had had GhkUas by his first wife, named Oalla : JaUac 
was the son of Badlina, whom he had espoased in a second maniagft 
Tillemoat. Hist, des Erap. Vio de Honstantin. art 3. — O. 

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204 thjE deounb and fall [A.D.354 

was an ancient palace, the residence of the kings iA Gapp»* 
doda; the situation was pleasant, the buildio^ statelj, the 
endosure spacious. They puisued their studies, and pradased 
their exercises, under the tuition of the niost sldlful masters ; 
and the numerous household appointed to at^d, or rather to 
guard, the nephews of Constantine, was not unworthy of the 
dignity of their birtL But they could not disgaise to them- 
seives that they were depiiyed of fortune, of &Mdom, and of 
ia^sty; seduded from the society of all whom they could 
trust or esteem, and condemned to pass their melancholy houn 
in the company of sUves devoted to the commands of a tyrant 
who had already injured them beyond the hope of reconcilia- 
tion. At lengUi, however, the emergendes of the state com* 
pelled the emperor, or rather his eunuchs, to invest QaUus, in 
the twenty-fifth year of his age, with the title of Csesar, and 
to cement this political connection by his marriage with the 
princess Gonstantina. After a formal interview, in which the 
two princes mutually engaged their fdth never to undertake 
any thing to the prejudice of each other, they repaired without 
dday to their respective stations. Constantius continued his 
march towards the West, and Gallus fixed hk residence at 
Antioch ; from whence, with a delegated authority, he admin- 
istered the five great dioceses of the eastern praefecture." In 
this fortunate clumge, the new Csesar was not unmindful of 
his brother Julian, who obtained the honors of his rank, the 
appearances of liberty, and the restitution of an ample patri- 

The writers the most indulgent to the memory of Gallus, 
mnd even Julian himself, though he wished to cast a vdl ovei 
the frailties of his brother, are obliged to confess that the 
Oaesar was incapable of reigning. Transported from a prison 
to a throne, he possessed neither genius nor application, nor 
docility to compensate for the want of knowledge and experi- 
ence. A temper naturally morose and violent, instead of being 

^' For the promotion of (Dallas, see Idatitis, Zosimus, and the two 
Victors. Aooording to Philostorgins, (1. iy. c. 1,) Theophilas, an 
' Arian bishop, was the witness, and, as it were, the guarantee of this 
solemn engagement He supported that diaracter with generous 
firmness; but M. de Tillemont (Hist des Empereurs, torn. iy. p. 1120) 
thinks it yery improbable that a heretic should haye possessed sudi 

*^ Julian was at first permitted to pursue his studies at Constantino* 
^e, but the reputation which he acquired soon exdted the jealoosy of 
Constantius; and the young prince was adyised to withdraw hiiMetf 
in Um loss conspicnnus scenes of Bithjnia and Ionia. 

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oonected, was sonred bj sditude and adveisit j ; the remenK 
braooe of what he had endmed disposed him to retaliatioii 
rather than to sj^mpatby ; and the ungoverned sallies of hi& 
rage were often fiilaL to those who approached his perscm, or 
were subject to his power." Constantina, his wife, is described, 
not as a woman, but as one of the infemid fdries tormented 
with an insatiate thirst €i human bk>od." Instead of employ- 
ing her influence to insinfuate tiie mild <x>unsel3 of prudence 
and humanity, she exasperated the fierce passions of lier hus- 
band ; and as she retained the vanity, though she had renounced, 
the gentleness of her sex, a pearl nedclaoe was esteemed an 
equivalent price for the murder of an innocent and virtuous 
nobleman.^^ The cruelty of Gallus was sometimes displayed 
in the undissembled violence of popular or military executions ; 
and was sometimes disgmsed by the abuse of law, and the 
forms of judicial, proceedings. The private houses of Anti- 
och, and the places of puUic resort, were besieged by spies 
and informers ; and the Caesar himself concealed in a a ple- 
beian habit, rery frequently condescended to assume that odious 
character. Eveiy apartment of the palace was adorned Irith 
the instruments of death and torture, and a general conster- 
nation was difiused through the capital oi Syria. The prince 
of the East, as if he had been conscious how much he had 
to fear, and how little he deserved^ taieign, selected for the 
objects of his resentment the provincials accused of some 
imsginary treason, and his own courtiers, whom with more 
mason he suspected of incensing, by their secret boneeppnd- 
4mce, the timid and suspicious mind of Oonstantius. But he 
ftiigot that he was depriving himself of his only support, the 
»dection of the people ; whilst he furnished the malice of his 

" See Julian, ad S. P. Q. A. p. 2*71. Jerom. in Chroii. Aureliiia 
Victor, Eujtropius, x. 14. I shall copy the words of Eutropius, who 
wrote his abridgment about fifteen years after the death of Gallus, 
when there was do longer any motlye either to flatter or to depreciate 
his character. '^^Moltis indyiUbua gestis Gallus Gasar . . . . Tir naturi 
ferox et ad tyrannidem pronior, si suo jure imperare Hcuisset." 

^* Megaera quidem mortalis, inflammatrix saevientifl assidua, humani 
cruoris avida» <bc. Ammiaa Marcellin. L xir. c. 1. The sincerity of 
Ammianns would not euSbr him to misrepresent facts or charactersi 
but his love of €mibitiou8 ornaments frequently betrayed him into aa 
canatural vehemence of expression. 

" His name was Clematius of Alexandria, and his only crime was 
a reftisal to gratify the desires of his mother-in-law; who solicited hit 
daaifa, beeause she had been disapfpointed of his love. Ammian : 

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enemies wHh the arms of truth, and afforded the emperor the 
fairest pretenoe of exacting the forfeit of his purple, and of his 

As long as :the civil war suspended the &te of the Roman 
world, Oonstantius dissembled his knowledge of the weak and 
cruel administration to which his choice had subjected the 
East ; and the discovery of some assassins, secredy despatched 
!;o Antioch by the tyrant of Gaul, was ^ployed to convince 
the public, that the emperor and the Caesar were united by tb« 
same interest, and pursued by the same enemies.'' But when 
the victory was decided in &vor of Oonstantius, his dependent 
coUeiEigue became less useful and less Ibrmidable.' Every cir> 
cumstance of his conduct was severely and suspiciously exam- 
ined, and it was privately resolved, either to depiivb Galliis of 
the purple, or at least to remove him from the indolent lur- 
ury of Asia to the hardships and dangers of a German war. 
The d€lath of Theophilus, consular of the province 6f Syria, 
who in a time of scarcity had been msBsacred by the people 
of Antioch, with the connivance, and almost at the instigation, 
of Gallus, was justly resented, not only as an act of wanton 
cruelty, but as a dangerous insult :on: the supreme majesty of 
Coi^tantius. . Two ministers of illustrious rank, Domitian the 
Oriental praefect, and Montius, quaBstor of the palace, were 
empowered, by a special .^c^mimission* to visit and reform the 
state of the East. They were instructed to behave towards 
Gallus with moderation and respect, and, by the gentlest arts 
of persuasion, to engage him to comply with the invitation of 
his brother and colleague. The rashness of the praelect dis- 
appointed these prudent measures, and hastened his own ruin, 
as well as that of his enemy. On bis arrival at Antioch, 
Domitian passed disdainfully before the gates of the palace, 
and alleging a slight pretence of indisposition, continued sev- 
eral days in sullen retirement, to prepare an inflammatory 

" See in Ammianos (L xiv. c. 1, 7) a very ample detail of the cruel- 
ties of Gallus. His- brother Julian (p. 272) insinuates, that a secret 
conspiracy had been formed against him ; and Zosimus names (1. ii. p. 
185) the persons engaged in it: a minister of 'considerable rank, and 
Wo obscure agents, who were resolved to make their fortune.' 

*• Zonaras, L xiil torn. ii. p. 17, 18. The assassins had seduced a 
great number of legionaries ; but their designs were discovered and 
revealed by an old woman in whose cottage they lodged. 

* The comtniasAon ieems to have heen granted to Domitian alone. Iffeh'i» 
ifaic inti'rfcred to support his authority. Amm. Marc. loc. cit. — M 

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A.l>. 354.J oy TkB roman bmpibb. 901 

manorial, whicb he transmitted to the Imperial court. Ykli* 
iiig at length to the pressing solicitations of Galhis, the praefed 
condescended to take his seat in council ; but his first step was 
to signify a concise and haughty mandate, importing that the 
Caesar should immediately repair to Italy, and threatening that 
he himself would punish his delay or hesitation, by suspending 
the usual allowance of his household. The nephew and 
daughter of Constantiiie, who could ill brook the insolence of 
a subject, expressed their resentment by instantly delivering 
Domitian to the custody of a guard. The quarrel still ad% 
mitted of some terms of accMomodation. They were ren- 
deired impracticable by the imprudent* behavior of Montius, a 
statesman whose arts and experience were frequently betrayed 
by the levity of bis disposition.** The quaestor reproacbea 
Gallus. in haughty language, that a prince who was scarcely 
authorized to remove a municipal magistiiate, should presume 
to imprison a Praetorian praefect ; convoked a meeting of the 
civil and military oflScers ; and required them, in the name of 
their sovereign, to defend the person and dignity of his repre- 
sentatives. By this, rash declaration of : war, the impatient 
temper of Gallus was provoked to embrace the most desperate 
counsels. He ordered his guards to stand to their arms, assent 
bled the populace of Antioch, and recommended to their eeal 
the care of his safety and revenge. EBs commands were too 
fatally obeyed, lliey rudely seized the prasfect and the 
quaestor, and tying their legs tc^ether with ropes, they dragged 
them through the streets of the city, inflicted a thousand insults 
and a thousand wounds on these unhappy vietims, and at last 
precipitated their mangled and lifeless bodies into the stream 
of the Orontes." 

After .such a deed, whatever might have been the designs 
of Gallus, it was only in a field of battle that he could assert 

'* In the pree^nt text of AmaiiaQus, we read Asperj quidem, sed 
ad lenitatem propensior ; which forma a sentence of contradictory non- 
sense. With the aid of an old manuseript» Valesiua has rectified the 
first of these corruptions, and we perceive a ray of light in the substi- 
tntion of the word vafer. If we venture to change lenitatem into lev- 
ifatem, this alteration of a single letter will render the whole passage 
clear and consistent. * 

'^ Instead of being obliged to collect scattered and i{nperfect hints 
from various sources, we now enter into the full stream of the history 
of Ammianus, and need only refer to the seventh and ninth chaptcn 
of his fourteenth book. > Philostor^ius, however, (L iii. e. 28,) tlioogk 
fiartial to Gallus, should not be entirely overlooked 

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DXOinni AND FALL [A. D. 3M. 

iut innooenoe with any hope of suooesfi. Bat the mind of 
thai prince iraa fonned <^ an equal miztare of rioleoee aiid 
weakness. Instead of asanming the title of Angnstos, instead 
of employing in his defence Uie troops and treasures of the 
East, he su&ied himself to be deceived by the aiected tran- 
qnillity of Gonstanthis, who, leaving him the vain pageantry of 
a oovrt, imperceptibly recalled the veteran legions from tiM 
provinces of Asia. ^But as it still appeared dangerous to 
arrest Qallns in his capital, the dowand safer arts of dissim- 
uUtion were practised with success. The frequent and press- 
ing epistles <^ Constantiiis were filled with professions of ccm- 
6dence and friendship ; exhorting the Gsesar to discharge the 
duties of his high station, to relieve his colleague from a part 
of the public cares, and to assist the West by 1^ presence, his 
connsek, and his arms. After so many redptocai injuries, 
Gailus had reason to fear and to distrust But he had neg- 
lected the opportunitieB ci flight and <^ resistanoe ; he wad se- 
duced by the flattering assurances of the tribune Sca<£k>y who^ 
under the sembbmce of a rough soldier, disguised the moel 
artful insinuation ; and he depended on the credit of lus wife 
Constantina, till the unseasonable death of that princess com- 
pleted the ruin in which he had been involved by her impetu- 
ous pasnons." 

After a long delay, the reluctant Oiesar set forwards on his 
journey to the Imperial court From Andoch to Hadrianoplc, 
he traveraed the wide extent of his dominions with a namer- 
ous and stately train; and as he labored to conceal hk iqspre- 
hendona from the worid, and p^aps from himself, he enter- 
tained the people of Constantinople with an exhilntion of the 
games of the circus. The progress of the journey might, 
Eiowever, have warned him of the impending danger. In all 
the principal cities he was met by ministers of confidence, 
commissioned to seize the ofiSces of government, to observe 
)iiB motions, and to prevent the hasty sallies of his despair. 
The persons despatched to secure the provinces which he left 
behind, passed him with cold salutations, or affected disdain ; 
and the troops, whose station lay along the public road, were 
studiously removed on his approach, lest they might be 
tempted to offer their swbrds for the service of a civil war " 

" She had preceded her husband, bat died of a feyer on the roa4 
ai a Utile pjjsce in Bithynia, called CkBQum Gallifiiwiim. 

'* Tbo TbebiBan leg:ioD8, which were then q:iartered at Hadrisne- 
pie, sent a deputation to Gallui<>, vitii a tender of their serr-ea 

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After GaUus had been permitted to repoee himself a few dayi 
at Hadrianople, he received a mandate, expressed in the most 
haughty and absolute style, that his splendid retinae should 
halt in that eity, while the CsBsar himself with only ten posl- 
carriages, should hasten to the Imperial residence at Milan. 
In this rapid journey, the profound respect which was due to 
Ihe brother and colleague of Constantius, was insensibly 
thanged into rude familiarity ; and Gallus, who discovered in 
the countenances of the attendants that they already consid- 
ered themselves as his guards, and might soon be employed 
as his executioners, began to accuse his &tal radiness, and tc 
recollect, wi<^ terror and remorse, the conduct by which he 
had provoked his fate. The dissimulation which had hitherto 
been preserved, was kid aside at Petovio,* in Pannonia. He 
was conducted to a palace in the suburbs, where the general 
Barbatio, with a select band of soldiers, who could neither be 
moved by pity, nor corrupted by rewards, expected the arrival 
of his illustrious victim. In the close of the evening he was 
arrested, ignominiously stripped of the ensigns of Caesar, and 
hurried away to Pola,f in Istria, a sequestered prison, which 
had been BO recently polluted with royal blood. The horror 
which he felt was soon increased by the appearance of his 
implacable enemy the eunuch Eusebius, who, with the assist- 
ance of a notary and a tribune, proceeded to interrogate him 
concerning the administration of the East The Osesar sank 
i»nder the weight of shame and guilt, confessed all the crim- 
inal actions and all the treasonable designs with which he was 
charged ; and by imputing them to £e advice of his wife, 
exasperated the indignation of Oonstantius, who reviewed with 
partial prejudice the minutes of the examination. The em- 
peror was easily .convinced, that his own safety was incompat- 
ible with the life of his cousin : the sentence of death was 
signed, despatched, and executed ; and the nephew of Con- 
Btantine, with his hands tied behind his back, was beheaded in 

Ammian. I xiv. c. 11. The Noiitia (a. 6, 20, 88, edit Lahh^ mentions 
three Beveral legioDs which bore the name of Thebeao. Tne seal of 
M. de Yoltaire to destroy a despicable though celebrated legion, has 
tempted him oa ths slight^t grounds to deny ihe eadstenoe of a The^ 
beaii legion in the Roman armieB. See CEuvres de Voltaire, torn, zv 
fi 414, quarto edition. 

• Pettaa m Styria.— M. 

^ Bather to Flanonia, now Fianone, near Pola. St. Martin.— Iff. 

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prison like the vilest malefactor.** Those who are inclined to 
palliate the cruelties of Constantius, assert that lie soon re~ 
fented, and endeavored to recall the bloody mandate ; but that 
the second messenger, intrusted with the . reprieve, was de- 
tained by the eunuchs, who dreaded the unforgiving temper 
of Gallus, and were desirous of reuniting to t^r empire the 
wealthy provinces of the East.*' 

Besides the reigning emperor, Julian alone survived, of ali 
the numerous posterity of Gonstantius Chlorus.' The misfor- 
tune of his royal birth involved him in the disgrace of. Gallus. 
From his retirement in the happy country of Ionia, he wa& 
conveyed under a strong guard to. the court of Milan ; where 
he languished above seven months, in the continual {^prehen- 
sion of suffering the same ignominious death, which was daily 
inflicted almost before his eyes, on the friends and adherents 
of his persecuted family. His looks, his gestures, his silence, 
were scrutinized with malignant curiosity, and he was perpet- 
ually assaulted by enemies whom he had never offended, and 
by arts to which he was a stranger.*' But in the school of 
adversity, Julian insensibly acquired the virtues of finnness 
and discretion. He defended his honor, as well as his life, 
against the insnaring subtleties of the eunudis, who endeav- 
ored to extort some declaration of his sentiments ; and whilst 
he cautiously suppressed his grief and resentment, he nobly 
disdained to flatter the tyrant, by any seeming approbation of 
his brother^s murder. Julian most devoutly asciibes.his mi- 
raculous deliverance, to the protection of the. gQds,.who had 
exempted his innocence from the sentence of destruction pro- 
nounced by their justice against the impious house of Constaur 

'* See the" complete narrative of the journey and death of Gallus 
in Ammiantts^ I xiv. c. 11. Julian complains thdt his brother waa 
put to death without a trial ; attempts to justify, or at least to excuse, 
the cruel revenge. which he had iimicted on ms enemies; but seems 
at last to acknowledge that he might justly have been deprived of the 

** Philostorgius, L iv. c. 1. Zonaras, L xiiL torn. ii. p. 19. But the 
former was partikl towards fem Arian monarch, and .the £attor tran- 
scribed, without choice or criticism, whatever he found in the writings 
of the iancients. 

^* See Ammianus Karcellin. 1. xv. c. 1, 8, 8. Julian hin'^.self; in his 
ypistlc to the Athenians, draws a very lively and just. picture of his 
own danger, and of his sentiments. He shows, however, a teoEdetioj 
^ to exaggerate his sufferings, hy insinuating, though in obscure termi, 
Ihat they kisted above a year ; a period which cannot be reoonciUd 
with the truth of chronology. 

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A. D. 855.] OF IHE ROMAN SMPlAB. 91 J 

tine.*^ As tho most effectual instrument of their providence, 
be gratefully acknowledges the steady and generous friend- 
ship of the empress Eusebia,'^ a worn in of l)e.auty and merit, 
who, by the ascendant which she had gained over the mind 
of her husbsmd, camterbalanced, in some measure, the pow- 
erful conspiracy of the eunuchs. By the intercession of his 
patroness, Julian was admitted into the Imperial presence : ho 
pleaded his cause with a decent freedom, he was heard with 
favor ; and, notwithstanding the efforts of his enemies, who 
urged the danger of sparing an avenger of the blood of 
Gallus, the milder sentiment of £usebia prevailed in the 
council. But the effects of a second interview were dreaded 
by the eunuchs; and Julian was advised to withdraw for a 
while into the neighborhood of Milan, till the emperor thought 
proper to assign the city of Athens for the place of his hon- 
orable exile. As he had discovered, from his earliest youth, 
a propensity, or rather passion, for the language, the manners, 
the learning, and the religion of the Greeks, he obeyed with 
pleasure an order so agreeable to his wishes. Far frpm the 
tumult of arms, and the treachery of courts, he spent six 
months under the groves of the academy, in a free inter- 
course with the philosophers of the age, who studied to culti- 
vate the genius, to encourage the vanity, and to inflame the 
devotion of their royal pupil. Their labors were not unsuow 
cessful ; and Julian inviolably preserved for Athens that ten- 
der regard which seldom fails to arise in a liberal mind, from 
the recollection of the place where it has discovered and exer- 
cised its growing powers. The gentlen^s and aff»bility of 
manners, which his temper suggested and his situation im- 
posed, insensibly engaged the t^ections of the strangers, aft 
well as citizens, with whom he conversed. Some of his 
fellow-students might perhaps examine his behavior with au 
eye of prejudice and aversion ; but Julian established, in the 

'^ Julian has worked the crimes and misfortunes of the family of 
Oonstantine into an allegorical fable, which is happily conceived and 
agreeably related. It forms the oonclusion of the seventh Oration, 
from whence it has been detached and translated I j the Abbe de la 
Bleterie, Vie de Jovien, torn, il p. 885 — 408. 

^^ She was a native of Thessalonica, in Macedonia, of a noble fami- 
ly, and the daughter, as well aa sister, of consuls. Her marriage 
witli the emperor may be placed in the year 852. In a dlTidod ago, 
die historiacs of all parties agree in her praises. See their testiuio- 
cioB collected by Tillemont, Elist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 760>^ 

Digitized by 


tl2 tHE DECLINE AND FALL [A. D. 855 

Bchools of Atbens, a general prepossession in favor of his vir- 
tues and talents, which was soon diffused over, the Roman 
world.*^ ' 

Whilst his hours were passed in studious retirement, the 
empress, resolute to achieve the generous design which she 
had undertaken, was not unmindful of the care of his fortune. 
The death of the late Caesar had left Constantius invested 
with the sole command, and oppressed by the accumulated 
weight, of a mighty empire. Before the wounds of civil dis- 
cord could be healed, the provinces of Gaul were over- 
whelmed by a deluge of Barbarians. The Sarmatians no 
longer respected the barrier of the Danube. The impunity 
of rapine had increased the bdldness and numbers of the 
wild Isaurians: those robbers descended from their craggy 
mountains to ravage the adjacent country, and had even pre- 
sumed, though wiUiout success, to besiege the important city 
of Seleucia, which was defended by a garrison of three 
Roman legions. Above all, the Persian monarch, elated by 
victory, again threatened the peace of Asia, and the presence 
of the emperor was indispensably required, both in the West 
and in the East. For the first time, Constantius sincerely 
acknowledged, that his single strength was unequal to such an 
extent of care and of dominion.** Insensible to the voice of 
flattery, which assured him that his all-poWerful virtue, and 
celestial fortune, would still continue to triumph over every 
obstacle, he listened with complacency to the advice of 
Eusebia, which gratified his indolence, without offending his 
auspicious pride. As she perceived that the remembrance of 
Gallus dwelt on the emperor's mind, she artfully turned his 
attention to the opposite characters of the two brothers, which 
Sx>m their infancy had been compared to those of Domitian 

"* libanius and Gregory Naziaozen have exhausted the arts as well 
us the powers of their eloquence, to represent Julian as the first of 
heroes, or the worst of tyrants. Gregory was his fellow-student at 
Athens ; and the symptoms which he so tragically describes, of the 
futtve wickedness of the apostate, amount only to some bodily imper- 
fections, and to some peculiarities in his speech and manner. He pro- 
tests, however, that he then foresaw and foretold the calamities of the 
church and state. (Greg. Nazianzen^ Orat. iv. p. 121, 122.) 

** Suocumbere tot necessitatihus tamque crebris unum se, quod 
wmquam fecernt, aperte demonstrans. Amniian. L zv. c. 8. He 
Uien expresses, in their own words, the flattering assurances of Om 

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JUD. S5d.| Oir TJl^ R0M4N SMXiSB. 919 

and of Titus.*' She accustomed her husband to consider 
Juliai^ as a youth of a mild, unambitious disposition, whose 
alfegianoe and gratitude might be secured by the gift of the 
purple, and who was qualified to fill with honor a subordinate 
station, without aspiring to dispute the commands, or to shade 
the glories, of his sovereign and benefactor. After an obsti- 
nate, though secret struggle, the opposition of the &vorite 
eunuchs, submitted to the ascendency of the empress ; and^ it 
was resolved that Julian, after celebrating his nuptials with 
Hel^a, sister of Oonstantius, should be appointed, with the 
title of Caesar, to reign over the countries beyond the Alps." 

Although the order which recalled bim to court was prob- 
ably accompanied by some intimation of his approaching 
greatness, he appeals to the people of Athens to witness his 
tears of undissembled sorrow, when he was reluctantly torn 
away from his beloved retirement." He trembled for his 
life, for his £ime, and even for his virtue ; and his sole con* 
fideoce was derived from the persuasion, that Mmerva in- 
spired all his actions, and that he was. protected by an invisible 
guard of angels, whom ior that purpose she had. borrowed 
from the Sim and Moon. He approached, with horror, the 
palace of Milan ; nor could the ingenuous youth ooneeal his 
indignation, when he found himself accosted with false and 
servile respect by the assassins of his fai^y. £!usebia, 
rejoieiDgin the suobess of her benevolent schemes, embraced 
him wi^ the tenderness . of a. sister ; and endeavored, by the 
most soothing caresses, to dispdl his terrors, and . reconcile him 
to his fortune. But the ceremony of shaving his beard, and 
his awkward demeanor, when he first exchanged the cloak of 
a Greek philosopher for the military habit of a Boman prince, 
araj Ased, during a few days, the levity of the Imperial court" 

. ■• ■■ :•• ^ — .—^ . 

•* Tantum A temperatis moribas Juliam* diffbrens fratris quantum 
iD^r ye&pasiaQi filids fuit, Domitianum et Tltum. AmmiaD. L xiv. 
c 11. T^ circumstances and education of the two brothers, were so 
Dearly the' same, as to afford a strong example of the innate difference 
3f characters. 

" Ammianug, 1. 5cv. c «. Zosamm,!. iii p. 137, 138. 

»■ Julian, ad. S. P. Q, A. p. 216, 276, Libanius, Orat. x. p. 26& 
Julian did not yield till the gods had signified their will by repeated 
rasiaiis and omena. His piety then forbade him to resist. 

•* JuliaD himself relates, (p, 274,) with some humor, the circom- 
ktances of. Hs own metamorphoses, his downcast looks, and his per- 
plexity at being thus suddenly transported into a new world, woorc 
•very object appeared strange and hostile. 

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214 THB DECLINE AlHD FALL [A. D. 35d. 

The emperors of the age of Constantine no longer deigned 
to consult with the senate in the choice of a colleague ; bui 
they were anxious that their nomination should be ratified by 
the consent of the army. On this solemn occasion, the guards, 
with the other troops whose stations were in the neighborhood 
of Milan, appeared under arms; and Constantius ascended 
his lofty tribunal, holding by the hand his cousin Julian, who 
entered the same day into the twenty-fifth year of his age."* 
In a studied speech, conceived and delivered with dignity, the 
emperor represented the various dangers which threatened the 
prosperity of the republic, the necessity of naming a CiBsar 
for the administration of the West, and his own intention, if it 
was agreeable to their wishes, of rewarding with the honors 
of the purple the promising virtues of the nephew of Con- 
stantine. The approbation of the soldiers was testified by a 
respectful murmur ; they gsteed on the manly countenance of 
Julian, and observed with pleasure, that the fire which sparkled 
in his eyes was tempered by a modest blush, on being thus 
exposed, for the first time, to the public view of mankind. As 
soon as the ceremony of h^ investiture had been performed, 
Constantius addressed him with the tone of authority which 
his superior age and station permitted him to assume ; and 
exhorting the new Caesar to deserve, by heroic deeds, that 
sacred and immortal name, the emperor gave his colleague the 
strongest assurances of a fnendship which should never be 
impaired by time, nor interrupted by their separation into the 
most distant climes. As soon as the speech was ended, the 
troops, as a token of applause, clashed their shields against 
their knees ;'' while the officers who surrounded the tribunal 
expressed, with decent reserve, their sense of the merits of the 
representative of Constantius. 

The two princes returned to the palaib in the same chariot ; 
and during the slow procession, Julian repeated to himself a 
verse of his favorite Homer, which he might equally apply to 
his fortune and to his fears." The four-and-twenty days which 

'* See Ammiaa MarcelUn. 1. xv. c. 8. Zosimos, L iil p. 139. Au- 
rclhis Victor. Victor Junior in Epitom. Eutrop. x. 14. 

** Militares omnes horrendo fragore scuta genibos illidentes ; auod 
est prosperitatis indicium plenum ; nam contra cum hastis clypei fen- 

aiitur, irse documentum est et doloris. Ammianus adds, with 

a nice distinction, Eumque ut potiori reverentia servaretm . nee snpra 
m^um laudabant nee infra quam decebat 

*' ''EA> i^f TTop^vpeo^ BivuTOi^ koi fioTpa Kparaifj. The WOrd purpit 

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thb Osesar spent at Milan after bis investiture, and the first 
months of his Gallic reign, were devoted to a splendid but 
severe captivity; nor could the acquisition of lionor con»pen- 
sate for the loss of freedom.'* His steps were watched, bis 
correspondence was intercepted ; and he was obliged, by pru- 
dence, to decline the visits of his most intimate friends. Of 
his former domestics, four only were permitted to attend him ; 
two pages, his physician, and his librarian ; the last of whom 
was employed in the care of a valuable collection of books, 
the gift of the empress, who studied the inclinations as well 
as the interest of her friend. In the room of these faithful 
servants, a household was formed, such indeed as became the 
dignity of a Caesar; but it was filled with a crowd of slaves, 
destitute, and perhaps incapable, of any attachment for their 
new master, to whom, for the most part, they were either 
unknown or suspected. His want of experience might require 
the aissistance of a wise council; but the minute instructions 
which regulated the service of his table, and the distribution 
of his hours, were adapted to a youth still uiider the discipline 
of his preceptors, rather than to the situation of a prince 
intrusted with the conduct of an important war. If he aspired 
to deserve the esteem of- his subjects, he wfts checked by the 
fear of displeasing his sovereign ; and even the fruits of his 
raarriage-bid were blasted by the jealous artifices of Euse 
bia'* herself, who, on this occasion alone, seems to have been 

which Homer had used as a vague but common epithet for deatli, waf) 
apj5lied by Julian to express, very aptly, the nature and object of his 
own apprehensions. ' 

*•* He represents, in the most pathetic terms, (p. 211,) the distress 
of hJs new situation. The provision for his table was, however, so 
elegant and sumptuous, that the young philosopher rejected it with 
disdain. Quum legeret libellum assidue, quem Constantius ut pri- 
vignum ad studia mittens manA sua conscripserat, praelicenter dispo- 
nens quid in convivio CaBsaris tmpendi deberit : Phasianum, et vulvam 
et sumen exigi vetuit et inferri. Ammian. Marcellin. L xvL c. 5. 

^ If we recollect that Constantine, the father of Helena, died above 
eighteen years before, in a mature old age, it will appear probable, 
tlmt the daughter, though a virgin, could not be very young at the 
tune of her marriage. She was soon afterwards dehvered of a son, 
who died immediately, quod obstetrix corrupta mercede, mox nattm 
prjEsecto plusquam convenerat umbilico necavit She aooompfupied 
the emperor and empress in tlieir journey to Rome, and the latter, 
qiuesitum venenum bibere per fraudem illexit, ut quotiescunqtie cbn- 
cepisoet, immatiu*um abjicerit partum. Ammian. t x"n. c. 10. Our 
physicians will determine whether there exists such a poisoa Foi 
my own part, I am inclined to hope that the public n»alii;nin' inijmted 
the efFoctff of accident as the guilt of Eusebia. 

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219 THE ]>BCLINa AND FAU. [A.D. 851. 

tiimuDdful of tbe tenderness of her sex, and the genero»ty of 
her character. The memory of his father and of his brothers 
leminded Julian of bis own danger, and his apprehensions were 
mcreased by the recent and unworthy fate of Sylvanus. In 
the summer which preceded his own elevation, that general 
had been chosen to deliver Gaul from the tyranny of the Bar^ 
barians; but Sylvanus . soon discovered tbat he had left his 
most dangerous enemies in the Imperial court. A dexterous 
mforiiper, countenanced by several of the principal ministers, 
procured from him some recommendatory letters ; and erasing 
the whole of the contents, except the signature, filled up the 
vacant parchment with matters of high and treasonable im- 
port. By the industry and courage of his friends, the fraud 
was however detected, and in a great council of the civil and 
military officers, held in the presence of the emperor himself 
the innocence of Sylvimus was publicly acknowledged. But 
the discovery came too late *,; the report of the calumn^r, and 
the hasty seizure oif his estate, had already provoked the indig- 
nant chief to the rebellion of which he was so unjustly accused. 
He assumed the purple at his head-quarters of Col<^ne, and 
his active powers appeared to menace Italy with an invasion, 
and Jdjilan with a siege. In this emergency, Ursicinus, a 
general of equal rank, regained, by an act of treachery, the 
£ivor which he had lost by his eminent services in the East 
Exasperated, as he might speciously allege, by the injuries of a 
similar nature, he hastened with a few followers to join the 
standard, and to betray the confidence, of his too credulous 
friend. After a reign of only twenty-eight days, Sylvanus 
was assassinated: the soldiers who, without any criminal 
intention, had blindly followed the example of their leader, 
immediately returned to their allegiance; and the flatterers 
of Constantius celebrated the wisdom and felicity of the mon- 
arch who had extinguished a civil war without the hazard of 
a battle." 

The protection of the Rhaetian frontier, and the persecution 
of the Catholic church, detained Constantius in Italy above 
eighteen months after the departure of Julian. Before the 
emperor returned into the East, he indulged his pride and 
enriosity in a visit to the ancient capital/^ He proceeded 

*• Ammianus (xv. v.) was perfectly well informed of the oondoet 
•nd fete of Sylvanus. He himself was one of the few followers wh© 
iitteoided Ursicinus in his dangerous enterprise. 

** For the particuLors of the visit of Constantius to Ronw, nom 

Digitized by 



from Milan to Home along the JSmilian and Flaminran irays; 
and as. soon as he approach^ within forty miles of the city, 
the march of a prince who had. never vanquished a foreign 
enemy, assumed the appearance of a triumphal procession. 
His splendid train was composed of all the ministersof luxury ; 
i)ut in a time of profound peace, he was encompassed bj 
the glittering arms of the numerous squadrons of his guards 
and cuirassiers. Their streaming banners of silk, embossed 
with gold, and shaped in the form of dragons, waved round 
the person of the emperor. Gonstantius sat alone in a lofty 
car, resplendent with gold and precious gems; and, except 
when he bowed his head to pass under the gates of the cities, 
he affected a stately demeanor of inflexible, and, as it might 
seem, of insensible gravity. The severe disdpHne of the Per- 
sian youth had been introduced by the eunuchs into Uie Im- 
peridl palace ; and such were the habits of patience which 
they had inculcated, that during a slow and sultry march, he 
was never seen to move his hand towards his face, or to turn his 
eyes either to the right or to the left. He was received by 
the magistcates and senate of Rome ; and the emperor sur- 
veyed, with attention, the civil honors of the republic, atid the 
consular images of the' noble families. The stress were 
lined with an innumerable multitude. Their repeated accla- 
mations expressed their joy at beholding, after an absence of 
thirty-two years, the sacred person of their sovei^eign; and 
Gonstantius himself expressed, with some pleasantry, his 
affected surprise that the human race should thus suddenl;/- 
be collected on the same spot The son of Oonstantine waft 
lodged in the ancient palace of Augustus: he presided in the 
senate, harangued the people from the tribunal which Cicero had 
so often ascended, assisted with unusual courtesy at the gamefe 
of the Circus, and accepted the crowns of gold, as well as the 
Panegyrics which had been prepared for the ceremony by the 
deputies of the principal cities. His short visit of thirty days 
was employed in viewing the monuments of art and power 
^hidi were scattered over the seven hills and the interjacent 
/alleys. He admired the awful majesty of the Capitol, the 
vast extent of the baths of Caracalla and Diocletian, the 
severe simplicity of the Pantheon, the massy greatness of the 

.immianus, L xvL c. 10. We have only to add, that Themistina vas 
appointed deputy from Constantinople, and that he compoBcd bif 
(varth oration f'>r this ceremony. 
'01.. n.^ — K 

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aiD|Aiibealre of Titos, the elegant architecture of ihe theatre 
of Pompey aod the Temple of Peace, and, above aH, the 
stately stroctuie of the Foram and column of TVajan ; tu^- 
knowiedging that the voioe of fiime, so prone to invent and to 
magnify, had made an inadequate report of the metropolis of 
the world. The traveller, who has contemplated the mins of 
ancient Bome, maj conceive some imperfect idea of the sen- 
timents which they must have inspired when they reared their 
heads in the spleiMior of unsullied beau^. 

The satis&Glion which Oonstantius had received from this 
journey exdted him to the generous emulation of bestowing 
OH the Bomans some memorial of his own gratitude and mu- 
nificence. Wb first idea was to imitate the equestrian and 
colossal statue which, he hnc seen in the Forum of Trajan : 
but when he had maturely weighed the diflSculties of the exe- 
cution,^* he chose rather to embellish the capital by the gift 
of an Egyptian obelisk. In a remote but polished age, which 
seems to have preceded Uie invention of alphabetical writing, 
a great number of these obelisks had been erected, in the 
cities of Thebes and HeliopoUs, by the ancient sovereigns of 
Egypt, in a just confidence that the simplicity of their form, 
and the hardness of their substance, would resist the injuries 
of time and violence/* Several .of these extraordinary 
columns had been transported to Borne by Augustus and his 
saccesBors, as the most durable monuments of their powei 
and victory;** but there remained one obelisk, which, from 
its size or sanctity, escaped for a long time the rapacious 
vanity of the conquerors. It was designed by Gonstantine to 
adorn his new city ;** and, after being removed by his order 

*^ Hormifldas, a fugitiye prince of Persia, observed to the emperor, 
that if he made such a horse, he must thiok of preparxD^ a sunilar 
stable, (the Forum of Trajan.) Another saying of Hormisdas is re- 
corded, ''that one thing only had duplecued him, to find' that men 
died at Rome as well as elsewhere." If we adopt this reading of the 
text of Ammiaous, (di9pHaM9$e, instead oiplaemne^y we may oonsidcr 
it as a reproof of Boman vanity. The contraiy sense would be that 
of a misanthrope. 

*• When Germanlcus visited the ancient monuments of Thebes, 
the eldest of the priests explained to him the meaning of these hiero* 
glyphics. Tadi AmiaL ii c. SO. Bat it seems probable, tihat before 
9ie useful invention of an alphabet, these natural or arbitrary signi 
were the common characters of the Egyptian natbn. See Warbur- 
tea's Divine liegation of Moses, vol iiL p. 69 — 243. 

♦* See Plia Hist. Natur. 1. xxxvi. r. 14, 16. 

*• A.mmian. Marcelfnt I. xvii. c. 4. He give-* us a Greek interpreJ* 

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A. I>. 857.J or thk soman bmpisb. 211 

from ^bB pedestal where it stood before the Temple of the te 
at HeUopoliii, was floated down the Nile to Alexandria. The 
death of Ckwstantiiie enspended the execation of hb purpoee, 
and ih» obelisk was destined bj his son to the ancient capita] 
of th^ empire. A yessel of nnoommon str^igth and capa- 
donsnees was provided to oonvey this enormous weight of 
granite, at least a hundred and fifteen idei in length, from the 
banks of the Nile to those of the lyber. The obelisk of Con* 
fltahtiiis was 2an<kd about three miles from the city, and ele- 
vated, bj the effort of art and labor, in the great Circus of 
Rome." ^ 

The departure of Constantius from Rome was hastened bj ^ 
the alarming intoUigence of the distress and danger of the 
Ilijxian provinces. The distractions of civil war, and the 
irrepareble loss which .the Roman legions had sustained in 
the battle of Muraa, exposed those countries, almost without 
defence to the light cavalry of the Barbarians ; and particu- 
larlj to the inroads of the Quadi, a fierce and powerful nation, 
who seem to have exchanged the institutions of Germany for 
the arms and military arts of their Sarmatian alHes.^' The 
garriaohs of th^ frontiers were iusafficient to check their prog* 
ress ; and the indolent monarch was at length compelled to 
assemble, firom the extr^ioities of hii dominions, the flower of 
the Palatine troops, to take the field in penon, and to employ 
a whole campaign, with the preceding autumn and the ensuing 

Hon of the hieroglyphics, and his commentator Lindenbrogius adds a 
Latin ineoription, which, in twen^ verses of the age of Oonstantiiu, 
oootaia a short history of the obeuBk. 

** See Dotiat Roma^ Abtiqua,L iil & 14, L iv. c 12, and the learned, 
tliough confused, Dissertation of Baigaeus on Obelisks, inserted in the 
fourth volume of Qraevius's Roman Antiquities, p. 1697 — 1936. This 
dissertation is dedicated to Pope Sixtus v., who erected the obelisk of 
Cknstantiiis in the square beibre the patriarchal chtirch of at John 

*^ The events of tliis Quadian and Sarmatian war are relattnl by 
A.mmianus, zvl 10, xvil 12, 13, xiz. 11. 

* Zt is doabtfal wlietber the obelisk traasported . by CoDstanUtts to Boma 
now exists. Even from the text of Ammianus, it is onoertain whether the 
interpretation of Hermapion refers to the older obelisk, (obelisco incisas esf 
veten gaem Tidemns in CiroOr) raiaed, as he himself states, In tho Circai 
yaximas, long before, by Aagnstas, or to the one brought by Canstaatiaa 
Tke obelisk in the square before the cimrch of 8t John Lateran is ajtcribed 
aoC to Barneses the Gt«8t bat to Thoutraos TI. ChampoHien 1. liOttre a 11 
de Blacaa, p. 32.— M 

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^ring, in the serious prosecution of Uie war. The e mp etw 
{Miased the Danube on a bridge of boats, cut in pieces all tiial 
eneouctered his march, penetrated into the heart of the ooon- 
try of the Quadi, and severely retaliated the calamitieB which 
they had inflicted on the Bommi province. The dismayed 
Barbarians were soon reduced to sue for peace : they ofiered 
Uie restitution of his captive subjects as an' atonem^t for the 
past, and the noblest hostages as a pledge of their future con- 
duct The generous courtesy which was shown to the first 
Muong. their chieftains who implored the clemency of Con« 
stantius, encouraged the more timid, or the more obstinate,* to 
imitiate their example; and the Imperial camp was crowded 
with the princes and ambassadors of the most distant tribes, 
who occupied the plains of the Lesser Poland, and who niight 
have deemed themselves secure behind the lofty ridge of the 
Carpathian Mountains. While Gonstantius gave laws to the 
Barbarians beyond the Danube, he distinguished, with spedous 
compassion, the Sarmatian exiles, who h^ been expelled from 
their native country by the rebellion of their slaves, and who 
formed a very considerable accession to the power of the 
Quadi. The emperor, embracing a generous but artful sys- 
tem of policy, released the Sarmatians from the bands of: this 
humiliating dependence, and restored them, by a separate 
treaty, to the dignity of a nation united under the' government 
of a king, the friend and ally of the republic He declared 
his resolution of asserting the justice of their cause, and of 
securing the peace of the provinces by the extirpation, or at 
least the banishment, of the Limigantes, whose mannere were 
still infected with the vices of their servile origin. The exe- 
cution of this design was attended with more difficulty than 
glory. . The territory of the Limigantes was protected against 
the Romans by the Danube, against the hostile Barbarians by 
die Teyss. The marshy lands which lay between those rivers, 
and were often covered by their inundations, formed an intri- 
cate wilderness, pervious only to the inhabitants, who were 
acqiuunted with its secret paths and inaccessible fortresses. 
On the approach of Gonstantius, the Limigantes tried the 
efficacy of prayers, of fraud, and of arms; but he sternly 
rejected their supplications, defeated their rude stratagems, 
an<l repelled with skill and firmness the efibrts of their irregu- 
lar valor. One of their most warlike tribes, established in a 
■mail island towards the confiux of the Tecss and the Danube, 

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A. D, 857.] OF THE ROMAN EUPIRK. 221 

e<Hi6eDfte<l to pass the river wHh the intention of surprising ^ 
eiii|>eror during tile security of an amicable conference. They 
soon became tbe yictims of the perfidy wMch they meditated. 
ESneompassed on every side, trampled down by the cavahy. 
slaughtered by the swords of the legions, they disdained to 
ask for mercy; and with an undamited cotintenanoe, still 
grasped their weapons in the . agonies of death. After this 
victory, a conriderable body of Romans was landed on the 
opposite banks of the Danube ; the Tai&lae, a Qothic tribe 
engaged in the service of the empire, invaded the Limigahtea 
on the side of the Tey^s ; and their former masters, the firee 
Sarmatiaos, animated by hope and revenge, penetrated through 
the hilly country, into the heart of their ancient possessions. 
A general conflagration revealed the huts of the Barbarians, 
which were seat^ in the depth of the wilderness ; and the 
soldier fought with confidence on marshy ground, which it 
was dangerous for him to tread. In this extremity, the bravest 
of the limigantes were resolved to die in arms, rather than to 
yield: but ue milder sentiment, enforced by the authority of 
their elders, at length prevailed; and the suppliant crowd, 
followed by their wives and children, repaired to the Imperial 
camp, to learn their fate from the mouth of the conqueror. 
After celebrating his own clemency, which was still inclined 
to pardon their repeated crimes, and to spare the remnant of 
a guilty nation, Oohstantius assigned for the place of theii 
exile a remote country, where they might enjoy a safe and 
lion<H'able repose. The Limigantes obeyed with reluctance; 
but before they could reach, at least before they could occupv, 
their destined habitations, they returned to the banks of tne 
Danube, exaggerating the hardships of their situation, snd 
requesting, with fervent professions of fidelity, that the eih- 
peror would grant them an undisturbed settlement within the 
limits of the Roman provinces. Instead of consulting his 
own experience of their incurable perfidy, Ck>nstantius listened 
to his flatterers, who were . ready to represent the honor and 
advantage of accepting a colony of soldiers, at a time when it 
;was much easier to obtain the pecuniary contributions than 
the military service of the subjects of the empire. The Lim- 
igantes were permitted to pass the Danube ; and the emperoi 
gave audience to the multitude in a large plain near the mod- 
em city of Buda. They surrounded the tribunal, and seemed 
lo hear with respect an oration full of mildness and dignit^j 
when one of the Barbarians, casting his shoe into the. aii; 

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nchdmed with a loud voice, Marhaf Marhaf* a woid oC 
defiance, which was received as a signal of the tumiilt Hiey 
nnhed with fary to seise the peison of the emperor; ha 
lojal throne and golden conch were pillaged bj these rsde 
bonds; bat the fidSiftd defence of lus goards, who died at big 
feet flowed him a moment to mount a fleet hone, and to 
escape ttom the confusion. The disgrace which had been 
incurred bj a treacherons surprise was soon retrieved by tiie 
numbers and discipline of the Romans; and the combat was 
onljr terminated by the extinction of the name md nation of 
the Jimigantes. The free Saitnadans were i^fnstated in the 
possesuon of their ancient seats; and although CoiiBtanlaiis 
distrusted the levity of their character, he entertained som^ 
hopes that a sense of gratitude might influence their future 
conduct He had remarked the loity stature and obsequious 
demeanor of Zizais, one of the noblest of their chiefs. He 
conferred on him the title of King ; and Zizns proved that bo 
was not unworthy to reign, by a sincere and lasting attach- 
ment to the interests of his benefisustor, who, after this splendid 
success, rec^ved the name of Sarmatiens from the acclama- 
tions of his victorious army/* 

While the Roman emperor and the Persian monarch, at the 
distance of three thousand miles, defended their extreme Hm- 
ita against the Barbarians of the Danube and of the Oxus, 
their intermediate frontier experienced, the vicissitudes of a 
hnguid war, and a precarious truce. Two of the eastern 
ministen of Constantius, the Pnetorian prsefect Musonian, 
4vhoBe abilities were disgraced by the want of truth and 
mtegrity, and Cassian, duke of Mesopotamia, a hardy and 
veteran soldier, opened a secret negotiation with the satrap 
Tamsapor/*f These overtures of peace, translated into the 
servile and fliattering languitte of Asia, were transmitted to the 
camp of the Great King ; who resolved to signify, by an ambas- 
sador, the terms whidi he was inclined to grant to the suppliant 
Romans. Narses, whom he invested with that character, was 

** Oenti Sarmatarom niagiio deoori ooofldens apod eos regem dad^ 
Aoreliqa Victor. In a pompons oration proooonoed by (Sxntaiitiai 
bioiBel^ ha expatiates on bis own ezpbits with much vanity, aiyl sqbm 

** Ammiaii. zrl 9. 

* "Bapen x kB reads Warrha, Warrha, Querre, War. Wagner aala aa 
iimii.Maro xU. ll^M. 

la Peraian. Ten-ichah-poar. 8t Martin, ii. 177.— Iff. 

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4*1>«858.] or THK liOMAN jsmpibk;. 228 

honorably received in his pteage through Antioch iui<l Goih 
stantinpple : he reached Sirmium afiber a long journey, and, at 
hia first audience, respectfully unfolded the silkei) veil which 
covered the haughty epistle of his sovereign. Sapor, King of 
Kings, and Brother of the Sun and Moon, (such were the lofty 
tiUea affected by Oriental vanity,) expressed his satis£Eictioa 
that his brother, C<Histantius Csesar, had been taught wisdom 
by adversity. A& the lawful successor of Darius Hystaspes, 
Sapor asserted, that the Biver Strymon, in Macedonia, was the 
true and ancient bouodary of his- empire ; declaring, however, 
^at as an evidence of his moderation, he would content him- 
^If with the provinces of Armenia and Mesopotamia, which 
had been fraudulently extorted from his ancestors. He alleged, 
that, without the restitution of these disputed countries, it was 
impossible to establish any treaty on a solid and permanent 
b|ps ; and he arrogantly threatened, that if his ambassador 
returned in vain, he was prepared to take the field in the 
spring, and to support the justice of his cause by the strength 
of his invincible arms. J^ar^es, who was endowed with tbo 
most polite and amiable manners, endeavored, as far as was con- 
sistent mtk his duty, to soften the harshness of the message.*^ 
Both the style and substance were maturely weighed in the Im- 
perial oouncil, and he Was dismissed with the following answer : 
^ Constantius had a right to disclaim the officiousoess of his 
ministers, who had acted without any specific orders firom the 
throne : he was not, however, averse to an equal and honorable 
treaty; bat it wad highly indecent, as well as absurd, to pro- 
pose to the sole and victorious emperor of the Eoman world, 
the same conditions of peace which he had indignantly rejected 
9i the time when his power was contracted within the narrow 
limits of the East: the chance of arms was uncertain; and 
Sapor should recollect, that if the Romans had sometimes 
been vanquished in battle, they had almost always been suc- 
cessful in the event of the war." A few days aSter the de- 
parture of Narses, three ambassadors were sent to the court 
of Sapor, who was already returned from the Scythian expe- 
dition to his ordinary residence of Ctesiphon. A count, a 
notary, and a sophist, had been selected for this important 

"^ AmmiannB (zvii. 6) transcribes the haughty letter. Thenustius 
(Qrat iy. p. 61, edit. Petav.) takes notice of the silken ooYering^. 
Idatius and 2^nara8 mention the journey of the ambassador ; and 
Peter the Patrician (in Excerpt Legat p. 58) has informed us of his 

eliating behavior. 

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commission; and Constantius, who was secretly anxious foi 
the conclusion of the peace, entertained some hopes that ihe 
dignity of the first of these ministers, the dexterity of the 
second, and the rhetoric of the third,*^ would persuade the 
Persian monarch to abate of the rigor of his demands. . But 
the progress of their negotiation was opposed and defeated by 
the nostile arts of Antoninus," a Boman subject of Syria, who 
had fled from oppression, and was adniiitted into the councila 
of Sapor, and even to the royal table, where, according to the 
costom of the Persians, the most important busm^ was fre- 
quently discussed." The dexterous fugitive promoted his 
interest by the same conduct which gratified his revenge. He 
incessantly urged the ambition of his new master to embrace 
the favorable opportunity when the bravest of the Palatine 
troops were employed with the emperor in a distant war on 
the DanubOb He pressed Sapor to invade the exhausted ^f^ 
defenceless provinces of the East, with the numerous armies 
of Persia, now fortified by the alliance and accession of the 
fiercest Barbarians. The ambassadors of Rome retired without 
success, and a second embassy, of a still more honorable rank» 
was detained in strict confinement, and threatened either with 
death or exile. 

The military historian," who was himself despatched to 
observe the army of the Persians, as they were preparing to 
construct a bridge of boats over the- Tigris, beheld firom an 
eminence the plain of Assyria, as far as the edge of the hori- 
zon, covered with men; with horses, and with arms. Sapor 

'^ Ammianus, zviL 5, and Yalesius ad loa The sophist, or philos- 
o]}her, (in that age these words were almost s^nonynious,) was Eusta>, 
thius the Cappadocian, the disdple of Jambhchus, and the friend ol 
St. Basil. Eunapius (in Vit. -fidesii, p. 44—47) fondly attributes to 
this pl;ilosophic ambassador the glory of enchanting the Barbarian 
king \^ the persuasive charms of reason and eloquence. See Tillcr 
mont, Hist des Empereurs, tom. iv. p. 828, 1182. 

*^ Ammian. xviil 5» 6, 8. The decent and respectful behavior of 
Antoninus towards the Roman general, sets him m a very interestiiig 
Ught ; and Ammianus himself speaks of the traitor with some compas- 
nvm and esteem. 

** This circumstance, as it ip noticed by Ammianus, serves to proTt 
the veracity of Herodotus, ^. i c. 183,) and the permaneocv of tht 
Picrsian manners. In every age the Persians have been addicted t« 
utemperanoe, and the wines of Shiraz have' triumphed ov<a* iL» law 
•f MaiuHnet Brisson de R^^no Pers. L il p. 462—- 472, an i O^Mrfdiis 
Voyages en Perse, tom. ill p. 90. 

■^ Ammian. Ixviii 6, 7» 8, 10. 

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appeared in the fronts ooospicaoiis by the splendor of iue 
purple. On his left hand^ the place of honor among the Ori- 
entalsy Grumbates, king of the Ohionites, displayed the stem 
countenance of an aged and renowned warrior. The monarch 
had reserved a sitnil^ place on his right hand for the king of 
the' Albanians, who led his independent tribes from the shores 
of the Caspian.* The satraps and generals were distributeo 
according to their several ranks, and the whole army, besides 
the numerous tnun of Oriental luxury, consisted of more thac 
one hundred thousand effective men, inured to fatigue, and 
selected 6rom the bravest nations of Asia. The Roman de- 
serter, wao in some measure guided the councils of Sapor, 
had prudently advised, that, instead of wasting the summer in 
tedious and difficult sieges, he should march directly to the 
Euphrates, and priess forwards without delay to seize the feeble 
and wealthy metropolis of Syria. But the Persians were no 
sooner advanced into the plains of Mesopotaniia, than they 
discovered that every precaution had been used which could 
retard their progress, or defeat their design. The inhabitants, 
with their cattle, were secured in places of strength, the green 
forage throughout the country was set on fire, the fords of tlie 
rivers were fortified by sharp stakes; military engines were 
planted on the opposite banks, and a seasonable swell of the 
waters c^ the Euphrates deterred the Barbarians from attempt- 
ing the ordinary passage of the bridge of Thapsacus. Their 
skilful guide, changing his plan of operations, then conducted 
the army by a longer circuit, but through a fertile territory, 
towards the head of the Euphrates, where the infant river ia 
reduced to a shallow and accessible stream. Sapor over> 
looked, with prudent disdain, the strength of Nisibis ; but as he 
passed under the walls of Amida, he resolved to try whether 
the majesty of his presence would not awe the garrison into 
immediate submission. The sacrilegious insult of a random 
dart, which glanced against the royal tiara, convinced him ot 
his error ; and the indignant monarch listened with impatience 
to the advice of his ministers, who conjured him not to sacri- 

*. These perhaps were the barbanoos tribes who inhabit the northern 
part of the. present Schirwan, the Albania of the ancients. This country, 
now inhabited by the Lezghis, the terror of the neighboring districts, was 
tiien occapied by the same people, called by the ancients Legs, by the 
Armenians Gthes, or Leg. The latter represent them as constant allies of 
the Perpiana in tbeir wars against Armenia and the Empire. A little oftet 
ibis period, a certain Schergir was their king, and it is of him doubtless thai 
Ammianns Marccllinns speaks. St Martia ii. '.^^5.- M. 


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fiee Uie success of bis' ambition to tbe gratificatioc of bn 
resentlnont. Tbo following day Grumbates advanced towards 
ibe gates with a select body of troops, and required tbe instant 
surrender of the city, as the only atonement wbidi could be 
accepted for such an act of rashness and insolence. His pro- 
posals were answered by a general discharge, and his only 
fton, a beautiful and valiant youth, was pierced throng^ the 
heart by a javelin, shot from one of the bdistse. The fhneral 
of the prince of the Chionites was celebrated according to the 
rites of the country ; and the grief of his aged father was 
alleviated by the solemn promise of Sapor, that the gutlty city 
of Amida should serve as a funeral pile to expiate the death, 
and to perpetuate the nlemory, of his son. 

The ancdent city of Amid or Amida,** which sometimes 
assumes the provindal appellation of Diarbekir,** is advan- 
tageously situate in a fertile plain, watered by the natural and 
artificial channels of the Tigris, of which the least inconsid- 
erable stream bends in a semicircular form round the eastern 
part of the city. The Emperor Conatantius had )recentl^ con- 
ferred on Amida the honor of his own name, and the additional 
fortifications of strong walls and lofty towers. It was provided 
with an arsenal of military engines, and the ordinaiy garrison 

»• For the description of Amida, see D*Herbelot> Biblioth^ue 
Orientale, p^ 108. Histoire de Timur Bee, par Cherefeddin All, 1. iii. 
c. 41. Abmed Arabsiades, torn, i p. 881, c. 40. Voyages, de Taver* 
nier, torn, i p. 801. Yoyagea d'Otter, torn. IL p. 273, and Voyages 
de Niebuhr, torn. li. p. 824 — 328. The last of these travellers, a 
learned and accurate Dane, has given a plan of Amida, which illu9- 
^tes the operations of the siege. 

'* DiarbeJdr, which is styled Amid, or Kara Amid, in the public 
\mtings of the Turks, contains above 16,000 houses, and is the resi- 
lience of .a pacha with three tails. The epithet of Kara is derived 
firom the blackness of the stone which compK>ses the strong and ancient 
wall of Amida.* 

* In my Mem. Hist sttr rArmenie, 1. i. p. 166, 173, I conceive that t 
have proved this dtv, still called, by the Armenians, I>irkraziagerd» the oily 
of Tigranes, to be the same with the famous Tigranocerta, of which the 
sitaation was unknown. Bt. Martin, 1. 432. On the siege of Amida, see 
Bt Martinis Notes, ii. 29Q. Faustus of Bvzantium, nearly a contemprarary. 
(Armenian,) states that thQ Persians, on heoomii^ masters of it, destioyed 
40,000 houses*, though Ammianus describes the ci^ as of no great extend 
(civitatis ambitom non nimium ampl&B.) Besides me ordinary populatioi^ 
and those who took refuge from the country, it contained 20.000 soldiere. 
Bt Martin, ii. 290. This interpretation is extremely donbtfuJ. Wagaef 
(otHe on Ammianus) considers the whole popul^on to amount only tt 
90 000 ~M. 

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iuid been njAnfi^ced to the amount of seven legions,, when the 
place was invested bj the arms of Sapor/' His first and 
most sanguine hopes depended on the success of a general 
assault To the several nations which followed his standard, 
their respective posts were assigned ; the south to the Vertae ; 
the north tO:the Albanians ; the east to the Chionites, inflamed 
with grief and indignation; the west to the Segestans, the 
bravest of his warriors, who covered their front with a formi- 
dable line of Indian elephants." The Persians, on eyery side, 
supported their efforts, and animated their courage ; and the 
monarch himself, careless of his rank and safety, displayed, 
m the prosecution of the siege, the ardor of a youthful soldier. 
After an obstinate combat, the Barbarians were repulsed ; they 
incessantly Returned to the charge; they were again driven 
back with a dreadful slaughter, and two rebel legions of Gauls, 
who had been banished into the East^ signaliz^ their undis- 
ciplined courage by a nocturnal sally into the heart of the 
Persian camp. In one c^ the fiercest of these repeated 
assaults, Amida was betrayed by the ti'eaqhery of a deserter, 
who indicated to the Barbarians a secret and neglected stair- 
case, scooped out of the rock that hangs over the stream of 

" The operations of the mege of Amida are very minutelj 
described by Aimniftngs, (six. l-;-9,) who acted an honorable part 
in the defence, and escaped with difficulty when the city was stormed 
by the Persians. 

** Of these four nations, the Albanians are too well known to 
require any descriptioa The Segestans [8a4!a8iene. St Martin.] 
inhabited a large and level country, which stiU preserves their name, 
to the south of Ehorasan, and the west of Hindostan. (See Geogra- 
phia Nubiensis, p. 183, and D'Herbelot, Biblioth^oue Orientale, p. 
l9^^ Notwithstanding the boasted victory of Banram, (vol. i p. 
410,) the Segestans, almve fourscore years afterwards, appear as an 
independent naticm, the ally of Persia. We are ignorant of the 'situ- 
ation of the Yertse and Chionites, but I am inclined to place them (at 
least the latter) towards the ccmfines of India and Scythia. See 
Ammian. xvl 9.* 

* Klaproth considers the real Albanians the same with tlie ancient Alani, 
and quotes a passage of the emperor Jnlian in support of his opinion. They 
are the OssetsB, now inhabiting part of Caucasus. Tableaux Hist de TAsie, 
p. 179, 180.— M. 

The VertflB are stiU unknown. It is possible that the Chionites are the same 
as the Huns. These people were already known ; and we find from Arme- 
nian authors that they were making, at this period, incufsions into AaUk 
They were often at war with the Persians. The name was pei^ps pn> 
noonoed differently in the East and in the West, ard tliis prevents vs froni 
'•oogniahig it. 8t Martin, ii. 177.— M. 

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die llgris. Seventy chosen archers of the royal giuird a*" 
cended in silence to the third story of a laity tower, wliieli 
commanded the precipice ; they elevated on high the Persian 
banner, the signal of confidence to the assai l a n ts: and of dis- 
may to the l^ieged; and if this devoted band could have 
maintained their post a few minutes longer, the reduction of 
the place might have been purchased by the sacrifice oi their 
lives. After Sapor had tried, without success, the efficacy of 
corce and of stratagem^ he had recom^se to the slower bat 
mc»'e certain operations of a regular siege, in the conduct of 
which he was instructed by the skill of the Roman deserters; 
The trenches were opened at a convenient distance, and the 
troops destined for that service advanced under the portable 
cover of strong hurdles, to fill up the ditch, and undermine 
the foundations oi the walls. Wooden towers were at the 
same time constructed, and moved forwards on wheels, till the 
soldiers, who were provided with every species of missile 
weapons, could engage almost on level ground with the troops 
who defended the rampart. Every mode of resistance which 
art could suggest, or courage could execute, was employed in 
the defence of Amida, and the works of Sapor were more 
than once destroyed by the fire of the Eomans. But the 
resomxses of a besieged city may be esliausted. The Persians 
*«paired their losses, and pushed their approaches; a large 
oreach was made by the battering-ram, and the strength of 
the garrison, wasted by the sword and by. disease, yielded to 
the ^ry of the assault The soldiers, the citizens, their wives, 
their children, all who had not time to escape through the 
opposite gate, were involved by the conquerors in a promiscu- 
ous massacre. ' ' 

But the ruin of Amida was the safety of the Eoman prov* 
inces. As soon as the first transports of victory had subsided, 
Sapor was at leisure to reflect, i hat to chastise a disobedient 
city, he had lost the flower of his- troops, and the most favor- 
able season for conquest.*' Thiity thousand of Lis veterans 

'* AmmianUs has marked the ckonology of this year by three 
Bigns, which do not perfectly coincides with each other, or with the 
series of the history. 1 The com i7as ripe when Sajjor invaded 
Mesopotamia; " Cum jam stipulE fiavekiUe twgerent;'' a drcumstaiioi^ 
which, in the latitude oi Aleppo, wt-uld naturally refer us to the 
month of April or May. See Harm-r's Observatioos on Scripture 
voL L p. 41. Shaw's Travels, p. 836, •^d** 4to. 2. The progress of 
Sspor waa checked b}' the overflowini of the £'*T)hrfiteo which fren- 

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had hXkn under the walk <^ Amida, during ttie oontinuance 
of a siege, which lasted seventy-three days ; and the disap- 
pointed monarch returned to his capital with affected, triumph 
and secret mortification. It is more than probable, that the 
inconstancy of his Barbarian allies was tempted to relinquish 
A war in which they had encountered such unexpected diffi* 
cullies ; and that the aged king of the Chionites, satiated with 
revenge, turned away with horror from a scene of action 
where he had been deprived of the hope of his family and 
nation. The strength as well as the spirit of the army with 
which Sapor took the field in the ensuing spring was no longei 
equal to the unbounded views of his ambition. Instead d( 
aspiring to the conquest of the East, he was obliged to content 
himself with the reduction of two fortified dties of Mesopo- 
tamia, Singara and Bezabde;'^ the one situate in the midst 
of a sandy desert, the other in a small p^insula, surrounded 
almost on every side by the deep and rapid stream of the 
Tigris. Five Roman legions, of tiie diminutive size to which 
they had been reduced in the age of Constantine, were made 
prisoners, and sent into remote captivity on the extreme con- 
fines, of Persia. After dismantling the walls of Singara, the 
conqueror abandoned that solitary and sequesteved place ; but 
he carefully restored the fortifications of Bezabde, and fixed 
•in that important ^post a garrison or colony of veterans ; amply 
supplied with every means of d^ence, and animated by high 
sentiments of honor and fidelity. Towards the close of i^e 
campaign, the arms of Sapor incurred some disgrace by an 
unsuccessfiil enterprise against Virtha, or Tecrit, a strong, or, 
as it was universally esteemed till the age of Tamerlane, an 
impfegnable fortress of the independent Arabs.'^ 

erally bappens in July and August Plia Hist. Nat v. 21. Viag^ 
<li Pietro della Valle, toixL I p. 696. 8. When Sapor had taken 
A.imda, after a siege of sevenly-three days, the autumn was far 
ndvanoed. ** Autumno prsecipiti uBdorumque improbo sidere exorto." 
To reconcile these apparent contradictions, we must allow for some 
delay in the Persian lung, some inaccuracy in the historian, and some 
disorder in the seasons. 
^ The ao6ount of these sieges is given by Ammianus, zz. 6, '7.* 
"^ For the identity of Virtha and Tecrit, see D'AnviUe, Qeographio 
ifZMDSe, torn, il p. 201. For the siege of that castle by Timur Beo* 

* The Christian bishop of Bezabde went to the camp of the king of Pe»- 
M, to persaade him to check the waste of Iranfum blood Amm. llani 

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. Hlo defence of the East agsinat the arms of Sapdc requited 
and would have exercised, the abilitito of the most consum- 
mate general; and it seemed fortunate for the state, that 
it. was the actual province of the brave Ursicinus, who alone 
deserved the confidence of the soklieis and people. In 
the hour of danger/' Ursicinus was removed from his station 
by the intrigues of the eunuchs ; and the military command 
df the East was bestowed, by the same influence, on Sabinian, 
a wealthy and subtle veteran, who had attained the infirmities, 
without acquiring, the experience, of age. By a second order, 
which issued from the same jealous and inconstant councils, 
Ursicinus was again despatched to the frontier of Mesopo- 
tamia, and condemned to sustain the labors of a war, the 
honors of which had been transferred to his unworthy rival. 
Babinian fixed his indolent station under the walls of Edessa ; 
and while he amused himself with the idle parade of military 
exercise, and nH>ved to the sound of flutes in the Pyrrhic 
dance, the public defence was abandoned to the boldness and 
diligence of the former general of the East. But. whenever 
Ursicinus rec<xnmended any vigorous plan of operations; 
when he proposed, at the head of ^ light and active army, to 
wheel round the foot of the mountains, to intercept the con- 
voys of the enemy, to harass the wide extent of the Persian 
lines, and to relieve the distress of Amida; the tin^id find, 
envious commander alleged, that he was restrained by his 
positive orders from endangering the safety of the troops. 
Anuda was at length taken ; its bravest defenders, who had 
escaped the sword of the Barbarians, died in the Eoman camp 
by the h^md of the executioner : and Ursidnus himself, after 
supporting the disgrace of a partial inquiry, was punished for 
the misconduct of Sabinian by the loss of his military rank. 
But Constantius soon experienced the truth of the prediction 
which honest indignation had extorted from his injured lieu- 
Mr Tamerlane, see Gherefeddin, L iii. c. 88. The Persian biographer 
exaggerates the merit and difficulty of this exploit, which delivered 
the caravans of Bagdad from a formidable gang of robbers.* 

"' Ammianus (xyiii. 6, 6, xix. 3, xx. 2) represents the merit and 
disgrace of Ursicinus -with that £EUthful attention which a soldiei 
owed to his general Some partiality may be suspected, yet thi^ 
whole account is consistent and probable. 

* 8t Martin doubts whether it lav bo mpch to the south. " The wora 
ftirtha weans in Syriac a castle or fortremi and might bo applied to numj 
pboea.*' Note it p. 344.— M. 

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A,D.360.j 07 fHB ROMilfr SMVIBS. 2111 

tenanV that as long as ddeh maxiins of gov'emment were so^ 
fered to prevail, tlid emperor hiibself would find it no easy 
task to defend his eastern dominions from the invasion of a 
foreign enemy. When he had subdued or pacified the Bar- 
barians of the Danube, Oonstantius proceeded by slow mareh^efir 
into the East ; and after he had wept over the smoking ruins of 
Amida, he formed, with a powerful army, the siege of Be- 
cabde. The walls were shaken by the reiterated efforts of th« 
most enormous of the battering-rams ; the town was reduced 
to the last extremity ; but it was still defended by the patient 
and intrepid valor of the garrison, till the approach of the 
f'ainy season obliged the emperor to raise the siege, and inglo- 
riously to retreat into his winter quarters at Antioch.*' The 
pride of Constantius, and the ingenuity of his courtiers^ were 
%t a loGB to discover any materials lor pan^yric in the events 
of the Persian war; while the glory of hiis cousin Julian, to 
whose military command he had intrusted the provinces of 
Gaul, was proclaimed to the world -in the simple and concise 
narrative of his exploits. 

In the blind fury of civil discord,* Ooi^tantius had abandoned 
to the Barbarians of Germany the countries of Gaul, which 
still acknowledged the authority of his rival. A i^umerous 
swarm of Franks and Alemanni were invited to cross the 
Rhine by presents and promises, by the hopes of spoil, and 
by a perpetual grant of all the territories which Ih^j should be 
able to subdue.'* But the emperor, who for a temporary 
Bervice had thus imprudently provoked the rapacious s^rit of 
the Barbarians, soon discovered and lameivted the difficulty of 
dismissing these formidable allies, after they had tasted the 
richness of the Roman soil. Regardless of the nice distinc- 
tion of loyalty and rebellion, these undisciplined robbers treat- 

*' Ammian. zx. 11. Omisso vano incepto, hiemativus Antiochia 
redit in Syriam ferumnosam, perpessus et ulcerum sad et atrocia, 
diuque deflenda. It is thus that James Oronovius has restored an 
obscure passage ; and he thinks that this correction alone would have 
deservea a new edition of his author : whose sense may now bo dark- 
ly perceived. I expected some additional light from the recent labors 
of the learned Ernestus. (LipsiaB) I'Z'ZS.) * ^ 

•* The ravages of the Germans, and the distress of Gaul, may be 
collected from Julian himself Orat. ad S. P. Q- Athen. p. 2^77. 
Ammian. xv. 11. Libanius, Orat. x. Zosimus, 1. iiL p. 140. Sozomen, 
I. uL c 1. [Mamertin. Grat Art c. iv.] 

* The late editor (Wagner) has nothing better t^ saggest, and li««M| 
whh Gibbon, the silence of Emesti.— M. 

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f31{ THE DECLINS AND FALL [A. D. 361) 

•d m their natural enemies all the subjects of the empire, who 
possessed any property whidi they were desirous of acquirinj; 
i*orty-five flourishing cities, Tongres, Cologne, Treves, Worncis, 
Spires, Strasbuigh, &:c^ besides a far greater number of towns 
and villages, were pillaged, and for tbe most part reduced to 
ashes. The Barbarians of Germany, still faithful to the max- 
ims of their ancestors, abhorred the confinement of walls, to 
which they applied the odious names of prisons and sepul- 
chres; and. fixing their independent habitations on the banks 
of rivers, the lUiine, the Moselle, and the Meuse. ther secured 
themselves against the danger of a surprise, by a rude and 
hasty fortification of large trees, which were felled and thrown 
across the roiids. The Alemahni were established in the 
mod3rn countries of Alsace and Lorraine ; the Franks occu- 
pied the island of the Batavians, together with an extensive 
district df Brabant, which was then known by the appellation 
of Toxandria,'* and may deserve to be considered as the ori- 
ginal seat of their * Gallic monarchy.** From the sources, to 
the mouth, of the Bhine, the conquests of the Germans ex- 
tended above forty miles to the west of that river, over a 
country peopled by colonies of their own name and nation : 
and the scene of their devastations was three times more 
extensive than that of their conquests. At a still greater dis- 
tance the open towns of Gaul were deserted, and the inhab- 
itants of the fortified cities, who trusted to their strength and 
vigilance, were obliged to content themselves with such sup- 
plies of corn as they could raise on the vacant land within th< 
enclosure of their walls. The diminished legions, destitute of 
pay and provisions, of arms and discipline, trembled at the 
approach, and even at the name, of the Barbarians. 

'* Ammianas, xvL 8. This name seems to be derived from the 
Toxandri of Pliny, and yery frequently occurs in the histories of the 
middle age. Toxandria was a country of woods and mcn-asses, which 
extended from the neighborhood of Tongres to the conflux of the 
Vahal and the Rhine. See Valesius, Notit Galliar. p. 558. 

'* The paradox of P. Daniel, that the Franks never obtained any 

germanent settlement on this side of the Rhine before the time ot 
lovis, is refuted with much leamiDg and good sense by M. Biet, who 
has proved by a chain of evidence, their uninterrupted possession of 
Toxandria, one hundred and thirty years before the accession of Clo- 
vis. The Dissertation of M. Biet was ^crowned by the Academy of. 
Soissons, in the year 1736, and seems to have been justly preferred t« 
the discoorse of his mere celebrated competitor, the AbbS Ic "Boiul, 
tn antiquarian, whose name was happily expressive of his (nieiiif. 

Digitized by 


A. D. 360.J OF THB ROMAN BMriRB. 99% 

Under these melancholy drcamstanoes^ an unexperiei^eed 
youth was appointed to save and to govern tlie provinces of 
Gaul, or rather, as he expressed it himself, to exhibit the vain 
image of Imperial greatness. The retired scholastic education 
of Julian, in which he had been more conversant with books 
than with arms, with the dead than with the living, left him in 
profound ignorance of the practical arts of war and govern- 
ment; and when he awkwardly repeated some military exer- 
cise which it was necessary for him to learn, he exclaimed 
with a sigh, ''0 Plato, Plato, what a task for a philosopher!" 
Yet even this speculative philosophy, which men of business 
ore too apt to despise, had filled the mind of Julian with the 
noblest precepts, and the most shining examples ; had ani- 
mated him with the love of virtue^ the desire of fame, and the 
contempt of death. The habits of temperance recommended 
in the schools, are still more essential in the severe disdpline 
of a camp. The simple wants of nature regulated the meas- 
ure of his food and sleep. Rejecting with disdain the delica- 
des provided for his table, he satisfied his appetite with the 
coarse and common fare which was allotted to the meanest 
soldiers. During the rigor of a Gallic winter, he never suf- 
fered a fire in lus bed-chamber ; and after a short and intef^ 
nipted slumber, he frequently rose in the middle of the night 
from a carpet spread on the floor, to despatch any urgent 
business, to visit his rounds, or to steal a few moments for the 
prosecutioa of his favorite studies.*^ The precepts of elo- 
quence, which he had hitherto practised on fancied topics 
of dedamation, were more usefidly applied to excite or to 
assuage the passions of an armed multitude: and although 
Julian, from his early habits of convenation and literature, 
was more familiarly acquainted with the beauties of the Greek 
language, he had attained a competent knowledge of the Latin 
tongue."' Since Julian was not originally designed for the 
character of a legislator, or a judge, it is probable that the civil 
jurisprudence of the Romans had not engaged any consider- 

" Tho private life of Julian in Gnul, and the severe discipline 
which he embraced, are displayed by Ammianus, (xvi. 5,) who 
professes to praise, and by Julian himself, who affects to ridicule, 
(Misopogon, p. 840,) a conduct) which, in a prince of the bouse of 
Constantine, might justly excite the surprise of mankind. 

** Aderat Latine quoque disserenti sufficiens sermo. Ammifuraa 
rn. 5. But Julian, educated in the schools of Greece, alwayi oob^ 
sderod the langua^ of the Romans as a foreign and populmr dialed, 
wkidk be might use on nex^ssary occasions. 

Digit+zed by 


%94 XflS DSCUKJfi AND. VAU [A.D.35tt. 

able gUare of Lis attention : but he derived from liia pbikisopiiic 
studies an inflexible regard for justice, tempered by a di^^pou- 
lion to clemency; the kno:wledge of the genial principles ol 
equity and evidence, and the |!aculty of patiently i&Fesligating 
the most intricate and tedious que^UoEns which conld l^ pro- 
posed for his discussion. The measures of policy, and the 
operations of war, must submit to the various acddBnts of cir- 
cumstance and character, and the unpractiaed student will 
often be perplexed in the application of the most perfect the» 
ory. But in ih& acquisition of this, important science, Julian 
was assisted by the active vigor of his own genius, as welt as 
by the wisdom and experience of Sallust, an office of rank, 
who soon conoeiyed a sincere attachment for a prince sc 
wortiiy of his friendship ; and whose incorruptible integrity 
was adorned by the talent of insinuating the harshest truths 
without wounding the deHcaey of a royal ear." 

Immediately after Julian had received the purple at Milan, 
he was sent into Gaul with a feeble retinue of three hundred 
and sixty soldiei^. At Vienna, where he passed a painful and 
anxious winter in the hands of those ministers to whom Oon-^ 
stantius had intrusted the direction of his conduct, the Caesar 
was informed of the siege and deliverance of Autnn. That 
large and ancient city, protected only by a ruined wall apd 
pusillanimous garrison, was saved by the generous resolution 
of a few veterans, who resumed their arms for the defence of 
their country. In his march from Autun, through the heart 
of the Qallic provinces, Julian embraced with ardor the earliest 
opportunity of signaliziiig his courage. At the head of a 
■mall body of archers and heavy cavalry, he preferred the 
shorter but the more dangerous of two roads ;^ and some- 
times eluding, and sometimes resisting, the attacks of the 

*' We are ignorant of the actual office of this excellent minister, 
ffrhom Julian afterwards created prsefect of GauL Sallust was speed- 
Aj recalled by the jealousy of the emperor ; and we may still read 
a sensible but pedantic discourse, (p. 240—252,) in which Julian de- 
plores the loss of so valuable a friend, to whom he acknowledges him* 
self indebted for his reputation. See La Bleterie, Pre&ce a la Vie de 
Jovien, p. 20. 

* Aliis per Arbor — quibusdam per Sedelaacam et Coram in debere fir* 
anantibus. — Amm. Marc. xvl. 3. I do not know what place can be meant by 
doe mntUitted name Arbor. Sedelanas is Saalien, a small town of the de- 
partment of the Odte d'Or, six leagues from Autan. Cora answers to tl« 
Tillage of Core, oq the river of the same name, between Aattm and Nefom 
It Martin, ii 162.— M. 


Digitized by 


A. D. 857 .J OF Tll£ ROUkS SM.PIBX. ^WA 

BarbAiiaos, who were masters of the field, he arrived witli 
honor and .iafetv at the camp neair Rbeims, where the Romft^ 
troops had been ordered to assemble. The aspect of then 
yonng prince reviired the drooping spdrits of the soldiers, and 
they maiehed from Bh^ms in seasch of the ^lemy, with a 
confidence which bad almost proved fatal to them. The 
Alemanni, &miliarized to the knowledge of the country, 
secretly collected their scattered forces, and seismg the 
opportunity of a dark and rainy day, poured with uneipected 
fui^ on the rearguard of the Romans. Before the inevitable 
disorder conld he remedied, two legions were destroyed; and 
Julian was taught by e^>erienQB that caution and vigiUnce 
are the most important lessons of the art of war. In a second 
and more successful action,* he recovered and established his 
military fame; but as the agility of the Barbarians saved 
them from the pursuit, his victory was neither bloody nor 
decisive. He advanced, however, to the huak& of the Rhine, 
surveyed the ruins of Cdogne, convinced himself of the difii- 
culties of the war, and retreated on the approach of winter, 
discontented with the court, with his army, and with his own 
success.^** The power of the enemy was yet unbroken ; and the 
C»sar had no sooner separated his troops, and fixed his own 
quarters at Sens, in the centre of Gaul, than be was surround- 
ed and besieged, by a numerous host of Germans. Reduced, 
in this extremity, to the resources of his own mind, be dis- 
played a prudent intre^ndity, which compensated for all the 
deficiencies of the place and garrison ; and the Barbarians, at 
|/lie ^nd of thirty days, were obliged to retire with disappointed 

The conscious pride of Julian, who was indebted only to his 
oword for this signal deliverance, was iml»ttered by the reflec- 
tion, that he was abandoned, betrayed, and perhaps devoted 
to destruction, by those who were bound to assist him, by 
every tie of honor and fidelity. Marcellus, master-general of 
the cavalry in Gaul, interpreting too strictly the jealous orders 
of the court, beheld with supine indifference the distress of 
Julian, and had restrained the troops under bis command from 


Ammianus (xvL 2, 8) appears much better satisfied with the 
ss of his first campaign than Julian himself; who Tcry fairly 
tliat he did nothing of conseqaencd, and that he fled before tfait 


At Brocomagcs, Braraat,. near Strasbwgh. St. Martfai, U. Hi^-^-H, 

Digitized by 



marcaiBg to the relief of Sens. If the Caesar bad dissembM 
in Bilence so dangerous an insult, his person and authority 
would. have been exposed to the contempt of the world; and 
if an action so criminal had been suffered to pass with impu- 
nity, the emperor would have oonfirmed the suspicions, which 
received a very specious color from his past conduct towards 
the princes of iSne Flavian farnHj. Maroellus was recalled, 
and gently dismissed firom bis office." In his room Severus 
was appointed general of the cavalry; an experienced soldier, 
of approved courage and fidelity, who could advise ' with 
respect, and execute with zeal; and who submitted, without 
reluctance to the supreme command which Julian, by the 
inrerest of hia patroness Eusebia, at length obtained over the 
armies of GauU' A very judiciouif plan of operations was 
adopted for the approaching campaign. Julian himself, at the 
head of the remains of the veteran bands, and of sometiew 
levies which he had been permitted to form, boldly penetrated 
into the centre of the German cantonments, and carefully 
redstablished the fortifications of Saveme, in an advantageous 
post, which would either cheek the incursions, or intercept the 
retreat, of the enemy. At the same time, Barbatio, general 
of the infantry, advanced from Milan with an army of thirty 
thousand men, and passing the mountains, prepared to throw 
a bridge over the Bhine, in the neighborhood of Basil. It was 
reasonable to expect that the Alemanni, pressed on either side 
by tbe Roman arms, would soon be forced to evacuate the 
provinces of Gaul, and to hasten to the defence of their native 
country. But the hopes of the campa^n were defeated by the 
incapacity, or the envy, or the secret instructions, of Barbatio ; 
who acted as if he had been the enemy of the Gsesar,' and 
the secret ally of the Barbarians. The negligence with which 
he permitted a troop of pillagers freely to pass, and to return 
almost before the gates of his camp, may be imputed to his 
want of abilities ; but the treasonable act of burning a number 
of boats, and a superfluous stock of pi ovisions, which would 
have been of the most essential service to the army of Gaul, 

^^ Ammian. zvi. Y. Libanias speaks rather more advantageously 
of the military talents of MarceUus» Orat. x. p. 272. And Julittik insin- 
uates, that he would not have been so easily recalled, unless he had 
fpven other reasons of offence to the court, p. 278. 

'^ Scverus, non discors, non arrogans, sea longa militias frogalitet* 
eompcrtus ; et eum recta prieeuntem secuturus, ut duetorem morigmu 
niUt. Ammian. xvl 11. Zosimus, L iii. p. 140. 

Digitized by 


4. p. 357.] Or ru£ koman smfibx. tM 

was so erideiiee of his hostile a&d diminal iotentioB6. The 
Qenoans despised ai enemy who appeared destitate either of 
power or of indinatioii to offend them ; and the ignomioions 
retseat of Barbatio depdred Jnlian of the expected support ; 
and left him to extricate himself from a hasardons situation^ 
where ho covld neither remain with safety, nor retire with 

As soon as thej were delivered from the fears of inva^on, 
the Alemanni prepared to chastise the Roman youth, who 
presumed to dispute the possession of that country, which they 
claimed as their owri by the right of conquest itod of treaties. 
They emj^oyed three days, and as many nights, in trans- 
porting over the Rhine their military powers. The fierce 
OhnQidoQiar, shaldng the ponderous javelin which he had vic- 
toriously wielded against the brother of Magnentius, led the 
van of the Barbarians, and moderated by Im experience the 
martial ardor which his example iospiredJ* He was. followed 
by sik other kings, by ten princes of regal extraction, by a 
long train of high-spirited nobles, and by thirty-five thousand 
of the bravest warriors of the tribes of Grermany. The confi- 
dence derived from the view of their own strength, was 
increased by the intelligence which they received from a 
deserter, that the CflBsar, with a feeble army of thirteen thou- 
sand men, occupied a post about one-Aud-twenty miles from 
their camp of Strasburgh. With this inad^uate force, Julian 
resolved to seek and to encounter the Barbarian host; and the 
chance of a gieneral action was preferred to the tedious and un* 
oertain operation of separet^y engaging the dispersed parties 
of the Alemanni. The Romans marched in close order, and 
in two columns ; the cayalry on the right, the infentry on the 
left; and the day was so far spent when they appeared in 
sight of the enemy, that Julian was desirous of deferring the 
battle till the next morning, and of allowing his troops to 

^* On the design and failure of the oooperfttion between Julian and 
Barbatio, see Aimnianus (zvi 11) and Libiuiiiiis, (Orai. z. p. 273.)* 

''^ Anunianus (xvL 12) describes with hia inflated eloquence the 
Hgure and charsicter of Chnodomar. Audaz et fidens ingenti robore 
lAcertornm, ubi ardor proelii sperabatur immanis, equo spumante sub- 
limior, erectus in jacutum formidandae vastitatig, armonimque nitors 
Amsrpicacis : antea strenuus et miles; et utilis prffiter caeteros durtor 
. . . Decontium Osssarem superavit sequo marte congressus. 

* Barbatio seems to liave allowed himself lo be eurpriged and dcf9tUi4 

Digitized by 



recruit tiieir exhausled strength by the neoessary refreshmenti 
of sleep and food. Yielding, boweter, with some rdnctanoe, 
to the clamors of the soldiers, and even to the opinion of 'his 
council, he exhorted them to justify by theif valor the eager 
impatience, which, in case of a defeat^ would be universallj 
branded with the epithets of rashness and presumption. The 
>umpet3 sounded, the military shout was heard through the 
field, and the two armies rushed with equal fury to the charge. 
The Csesar, who ccmducted in person his right wing, dep^ded 
on the dexterity of his archers, and the weight of his cniras* 
siers. But his ranks were instantly brbken by an inregular 
mixture of light hone and of iight infantry, and he had the 
mortification of beholding the- flight of six hundred of his most 
renowned cuirassiers." The fiigitives were stopped and ral- 
lied by the presence and authority of Julian, who, careless of 
his own safety, threw himself before them, and urging «very 
motive of shame and honor, led them back against the victori- 
ous enemy. The conflict between the two lines of inlkntiy 
was obstinate and bloody. The Germans possessed the superi- 
ority of strength and stature, the Romans that of discipline 
and temper ; and as the Barbarians, v^ho served under the 
standard of the empire, united the respective advantages of 
both parties, their strenuous eflforts, guided by a skilful leader, 
at length determined Ihe event of the day. The RomiaAs lost 
four tribunes, and two hundred and forty-three soldiers, in this 
memorable battle of Strasburgh, so glorious to the Csesar," 
and so salutary^ to the afflicted provinces of Gaul. Six thou- 
sand of the Alemanni were slain in the field, without including 
those who were drowned in the Rhine, or transfixed with darts 
while they attempted to swiin across tiie river.^^ Chnodomar 

^* After the battle, Julian ventured, to revive the rigor of ancient 
discipline, by exposing these fugitives in female apparel to the derision 
of the vhole camp. In the next campaign, these troops nobly re- 
trieved their hcmor. Zosimus, L iiL p. 142. 

"** Julian himself (ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 2*79) speaks of the battle 
of Strasburgh with the modesty of conscious merit ; l/tap^cva^tqy ow 
iKXscisy lattts tai <iV (ffias a^uctro ij roia^ f«X''' Zosimus oompares it 
with the victory of Alexander over Darius; and yet we are at a loss 
to discover any of those strokes of military genius which fix the atten- 
tion of ages on the conduct and ettoeess of a single day» 

^^ Ammianus, xvL 12. libamus adds 2000 imtre to thenmnber of 
the slam, (Orat x. p. 274.) But these trifling differences disappear 
before the 60,000 Barbanans, whom Zosimus liaa sacrificed to tb« 
glory of his hero, (L iil f. 141.) W© might attribute thi^ extravagant 
DumDCT to the carelessness of transcribers, if this credulous cr p&rtiaJ 

Digitized by 


A.D.d5lS.] OF THB ROMAN XllPIRK. 999 

iumaelf was sarrouDded and taken prisoner, with tbree of bw 
brttvO compaoioBs, who had defoted themseltes to Mow in 
life or death the &te of their ohieftain. Julian received hhn 
with military pomp in the oouneil of his officers ; and exprel»^ 
)Dg a generous pity for the fallen state, dissembled his inwturd 
contempt for the abject humiliation, of his eaptire. Instead 
of exhibiting the vanquished king of the Alemanni, as a 
grateful spectacle to the cities of G-aul, ke respectfhlly laid at 
the feet of the emperor thi» ^>lendid trophy of his victory. 
Chnodomar experienced an honorable treatment: but the 
impatient Barbarian could not lon^ survive his defeat, his con- 
finement, and his exiie..^* 

After Julian had repulsed the Alemanni from the provinces 
of the Upper Rhine, he turned his arms against the Franks, 
who were seated nearer to the ocean, on the confines of Gaul 
and Germany ; and who, from their numbers, and still more 
from their ihtrepid valor, had ever been esteemed the most 
formidable of the Barbarians/* Although they were strongly 
actuated by the aUurements of rapine, tiiey professed a dis- 
interested love of war ; which they considered as the supreme 
honor and felicity of human nature ; and their minds and bodies 
were so completely hardened by perpetual action, that, accord- 
ing to the hvely expression of an orator, the snows of winter 
were as pleasant to them as the flowers of spring. In the 
month of December, which followed the battle of" Strasburgh, 
Julian attacked a body of six hundred Franks, who had thrown 
themselves inip two castles on the Meuse."*' In ihe midst of 
that severe season they sn^ained, with inflexible constancy, a 
siege of fifty-four days ; till at length, exhausted by hunger, 
and satisfied that the vigilance of the enemy, in breaking the 
ice of the river, left them no hopes of escape, the Frank? 

historian had not erwelled the army of 85,000 Alemanni to an innu- 
merable multitude of Barbarians, irXnOot antipov 0ap0dpu>v. It is our 
own fault if tliis detection does not inspire us with proper distrust on 
tdmilar occasions. 

'* Ammian. icvi. 12. Libanius, Orat. x. p. 276. 

'" Libanius (Orat iil p. 137) draws a very lively picture of the 
manners of the Franks. 

•• Ammianus, xvii 2. libanius, Orat x. p. 278. The Greek orar 
lor, by misapprehending a passage of Julian, has been induced to rep- 
resent the fnnka as consisting of a thousand men ; and as his head 
was alwayB fidl of the Peloponnesian war^he compares them to lh« 
Laoedseirioinans, who were besieged and taken in the Islami of 3pkiM»* 

Digitized by 


:t40 ^THS DBVUHS AND FALL ^^ ^« '^ 

eomented, for Uie first time, to dispense with. the ancient. law 
wh^ commanded them to conquer or to die. The. Oseaar 
immediately sent his captives to tlie court of Constantius, who, 
accepting them as a valuable present,*^ leioiced in the oppoi> 
tunitj of adding so many heroes to the i^oicest troops of his 
domestic guards. The obstinate resistance of this handful of 
Franks apprised Julian of the difficulties of the expedition 
which he meditated for the ensuing spring, against the whole 
body of the nation. His rapid diligence surprised and aston* 
ished the active Barbarians. Ordering his soldiers to provide 
themselves with biscuit for twenty days, he suddenly, pitched 
his camp near Tongres, while the enemy still supposed him in 
his winter quarters of Paris, expecting the slow arrival of his 
convoys from Aquitain. Without allowing the Franks to unito 
or deliberate, he skilfully spread his legions from Cologne ta 
the ocean ; and by the terror, as well as by the success, of his 
arms, soon reduced the suppliant tribes to implore the. clemency, 
and to obey the commands, of their conqueror. The Chama- 
vians submissively retired to their former habitations beyond 
the Ehine ; but the Salians were permitted to possess their 
new establishment of Toxandria, as the subjects, and auxiliaries 
of the Eoman empire.^^ The treaty was ratified by solemn 
oaths; and perpetual inspectors were appointed to reside 
among the Franks, with the authority of enforcing the strict 
observance of the conditions. An incident is related, inter- 

•* Jnlian. ad S. I*. Q. Athen. p. 280. libanira, Orat x. p. 278. 
According to the ezpression of libanins, the emperor 6iipa fr>vtf^«^r, 
which 'La Bleterie understands (Vie de Julien, p^ 118) as an honest 
confession, and Yalesius (ad . Ammian. zylL 2) as a mean evasion, of 
the truth. Dom Bouquet, (Historiens de France, torn. L p. 783,) by 
substituting another word, ii»rf/*t<rr, would suppress both the difficulty 
and the spirit of this passage. 

^' Ammian. zvit 8. Zosimus, 1. iil p. 146 — 150, (his narratiye ia 
darkened by a mixture of fable,) and Julian, ad S. P. Q. Athen. p. 

280. His expression, vveis^ajxriv ftii> ftoipav rod Hakiav sdvovs, Xafid- 

0ovi it iih\aaa. This difference of treatment confirms the opinion 
that the Salian Franks were permitted to retain the settlements in 

- * A newl^ discovered fragment of EnnapiaB, whom Zosimus probably 
transeribed, illustrates this transaction. '' Jofian commanded the Bomaos to 
abfltain from all hostile measures against the Saliaos, neithco' to waste nr 
rsTige ikeiT own country, tor he called every country their own which waa 
•urraklered without resistance or toU on the part of the conquerors." If ai 
Script. V?^ Nor. Collect, ii. 256, and Euuapius in Niebuhr. Byzant. Hitt. » 

Digitized by 


/LD. 357-3 59.J of the uoman smpirs. 241 

MtiDg enough in itself, and by no means repugnant to IIm 
character of Julian, who ingeniously contrived hoih the plot 
and the catastrophe of the tri^dy. When the OhatnaTiaiM 
sued fi>r peace, he required the son of their king, as the only 
hostage on whom he could rely. A moumM silence, inter- 
rupted by tears and groans, declared the sad perplexity of the 
Barbarians; and their aged chief lamented in pathetic lan- 
guage, that his private loss was now imbittered by a sense of 
the public calamity. While the Ohamavians lay prostrate at 
the foot of his throne, the royal captive, whom they believed 
to have been slain, unexpectedly appeared before their eyes ; 
and as soon as the tumult of joy was hushed into attention, 
ihe Caesar addressed the assembly in the following terms : 
^ Behold the son, the prince, whom you wept You had lost 
him by your fault God and the Romans have restored him to 
you. I shall still preserve and educate the youth, rather as a 
monument of my own virtue, than as a pledge of your sin* 
eerily. Should you presume to violate the Edth which you 
have sworn, the arms of the republic will avenge the perfidy, 
not on the innocent, but on the guilty." The Barbarians with- 
drew from his presence, impressed with the warmest sentiments 
of gratitude and admiration." 

It was not enough for Julian to have delivered the provinces 
of Gaul from the Barbarians of Germany. He aspired to 
emulate the gloiy of the first and most illustrious of the em- 
perors ; after whose example, he composed his own commen- 
taries of the Gallic War.*^ Caesar has related, with consdou^ 
pride, the manner in which he twice passed the Rhine. Julian 
oould boast, that before he assumed the title of Augustus, he 
had carried the Roman eagles beyond that great river in three 
successful expectitions.'* The consternation of the Germans, 

~ This mteresting atory, which Zosimus has abridged, is related by 
Eunapius, (id Excerpt Legationum, p. 16, 16, 17,) with all the ampli* 
ficatioDs of Grecian rhetoric : but the silence of libaoius, of Ammi* 
anus, and of Julian himself, renders the truth of it extremely sus- 

'* libanius, the friend of Julian, dearly insinuatefl (Orat i^. p. 
IVS) that his hero had composed the history tif his Gallic campaigns. 
But Zosimus (Ir iii, p, 140) seems to have derived his information only 
from the Orations (Atf^^ot) and the Epistles of Julian. The discourse 
which is addressed to the Athenians contains an accurate, though gen« 
tral, aooonnt of the war against the Germans. 

** See Ammian. xvii. 1, 10, zviil 2, and Zosim.L iii p. 144 Juliaa 
id a P. Q. Athen. p. 280. 
• '^OL. Ti. — L 

Digitized by 


942 THE DECLINE AND FALL [A D. 357-350 

after the battle of Strasburgh, encouraged him to the first 
attempt ; and the reluctance of the troops soon yielded to the 
persuasive eloquence of a leader, who simred the fiitigues and 
dangers which he imposed on the meanest of the soldiers. The 
villages on either side of the Meyn, which were plentifully 
stored with com and cattle, felt the ravages of an invading 
army. The principal houses, constructed with some imitation 
of Roman elegance, were consumed by the flames ; and the 
Caesar boldly advanced about ten miles, till his process was 
stopped by a dark and impenetrable forest, undermined by 
subterraneous passages, which threatened with secret snares 
and ambush every step of the assailants. The ground was 
already covered with snow; and Julian, after repairing an 
ancient castle which had been erected by Trajan, granted a 
truce of ten months to the submissive Barbarians. At the 
expiration of the truce, Julian undertook a second expedition 
beyond the Rhine, to humble the pride of Surmar and Hortaire, 
two of the kings of the Alemanni, who had been present at the 
battle of Strasburghl They promised to restore all the Roman 
captives who yet remained alive ; and as the Osesar had pro- 
cured an exact account from the dties and villages of Gaul, 
of the inhabitants whom they had lost, he detected every 
attempt to deceive him,* with a degree of readiness and accu- 
racy, which almost established the belief of his supernatural 
knowledge. His third expedition was still more splendid and 
important than the two former. The Germans had collected 
their military powers, and moved along the opposite banks ' of 
the river, with a design of destropng the bridge, and of pre- 
venting the passage of the Romans. But this judicious, plan 
of defence was disconcerted by a skilful diversion. Three 
hundred light-armed and active soldiers were detached in forty 
small boats, to fall down the stream in silence, and to land at 
some distance from the posts of the enemy. They executed 
their orders with so much boldness and celerity, that they bad 
almost surprised the Barbarian chie&, who returned in the 
fearless confidence of intoxication from one of their nocturnal 
festivals. Widiout repeating the uniform and disgusting tale 
of slaughter and devastation, it is sufficient to observe, that 
Julian dictated his own conditions of peace to six of the 
haughtiest kings of the Alemanni, three of whom were per- 
mitted to view the severe discipline and martial pomp of 9 
Roman camp. Followed by twenty thousand captives, whom 
bo had rescued from the chains of the Barbarians, the Cfeaat 

Digitized by 


A. I>. 857-350.] OF THE ROMAN SMPUUL 841 

repassed the Rhine, after termhuKting a war, the Miccess of 
wnich has .been compared to the ancient glories of the Punic 
and Oimbrio victories. 

Ab soon as the Valor and conduct of Julian had secured an 
interval of peace, he implied himself to a work more congenial 
to his humane and philosophic temper. The cities of Gaul, 
which had suffbred from the inroads of the Barjbariana, he 
diligently repaired ; and seven important posts, between Mentji 
and the mouth of the Ebine, are particularly mentioned, as 
having been rebuilt and fortified by the order of Julian.** 
The vanquished Germans had submitted to the just but humili- 
ating condition of preparing and conveying the necessary ma- 
terials. The active zeal of Julian urged the prosecution of the 
work ; and such was the spirit which he had diffused among 
the troops, that the auxiliaries themselves, waiving their ex- 
emption from any duties of fatigue, contended in the most ser- 
vile labors with the diligence of the Boman soldiers. It was 
incumbent on the Caesar to provide for the subsistence, as well 
as for the safety, of the inhabitants and of the garrisons. The 
desertion of the former, and the mutiny of the latter, must 
have been the fatal and inevitable consequences of ^an^ine. The 
tillage of the provinces of Gaul had been interrupted by the 
calamities of war; but the scanty harvests of the continent 
were supplied, by bis paternal care,- from the .plenty of the ad- 
jacent island. Six hundred large barks, framed in the forest of 
the Ardennes, made several voyages to the coast of Britain ; 
and returning from theiice, laden with corn, sailed up the 
Rhine, and distributed their cargoes to the several towns and 
foKresses along the banks of the river.*^ The arms of Julian 

** Ammian. zviiL 2. Libanius, Orat x. p. 279, 280. Of these 
^even posts, four are at present towns of some oanse^aence; i^ngen, 
Andemach) Bonn, and Nuyias. The other three, Tricesim^e, Qiuulri- 
burgiam,' and Caatra Herculis, or Heraclea, no longer subsist ; but 
there is room to believe, that on the ground of Quadribnrgium the 
Dutch haye constructed the fort of Schenk, a name so ofift^iisiye to the 
&stidious delicacy of Boileau. See D'Anville, Notice de rAndenne 
Gaule, p. 183. Boileau, Epitre iv. and the notes.* 

" We may credit Julian himself, (Orat. ad S. P. Q. Atheniensem, 
p. 280,^ who giyes a very particular account of the transaction. Zosi- 
oms adds two hundred vessels more, (L iil p. 145.) If we compute the 
900 corn ships of Julian at only seventy tons eadb, they were capable 

* Triceeiras, Kcllen, Mannert, quoted by Wagner. Henidea, ErkftleMi 
Ivthe district of Joliers. 8t. Martin, ii. 31 1. —M. 

Digitized by 


M4 TUK OSCLINX AND TALL [A. I) 3dV--^5.9. 

had rcbtored a free and secure navigation^ which Cpi^tai^liiii 
had offered to purchase at the expense of his dignity, and of* 
tributaiy present of two thousand pounds of silver. The em- 
peror parsinioniouslj refused to his isoldiei? the sums which he 
granted with a lavish and trembling hand to the. Barbarians. 
The dexterity, as well as the firmness, of Julian was put to a 
levere trial, when he took the field with a discontented army, 
which had already served two campaigns, withoiit receiving 
any regular pay or any extraordinary donative.** 

A tender regard for the peaoe and happiness of his subjecU 
was the ruling principle which directed, or seemed to direct, 
the administration of Julian.** . He devoted the leisure of bis 
winter quarters to the offices of civil government ; and affected 
to assume, with more pleasure, the character of a ma^trate 
than that of a general. Before he took the field, he devolved 
on the provincial governors most of the public and private 
causes which had been referred to his tribunal ; but, on his 
return, he carefully revised their proceedings, mitigated the 
rigor of the law, and proaounced a second judgment on the 
•udges themselves. Superior to the last temptation of virtuous 
minds, an indiscreet and intemperate zeal for justice, he re- 
strained, with calmness and dignity, the warmth of an advo- 
cate, who prosi^uted, for extortion, the president of the Nar- 
bonnese province. " Who will ever be found guilty," ex- 
claimed the vehement Delphidius, *Mf it be enough to deny ?** 
" And who," replied Julian, "will ever be innocent, if it be 
sufficient -to affirm f ' In the general administration of peace 
and war, the interest of the sovereign is commonly the same 
as that of his* people ; but Constantius would have thought 
himself deeply injured, if the virtues of Julian had defrauded 
him of any part of the tribute which he extorted from an 
oppressed and exhausted country. The prince who was in- 
vested with the ensigns of royalty, might sometimes presume 
to correct the rapacious insolence of his inferior agents, to 
expose their corrupt arts, and to introduce an equal and easier 
mode.of coUeetion. But the management of the finances was 
more safely intrusted to Florentius, praetorian praefect of Gaul, 

of exporting 120,000 quarters, (see Arbaihnot's Weights and Measuresi 
p. 237 ;) and the countj*y which could bear so large an ezportatijii, 
luist already have attained an improYcd state of agriculture. 

The troops x)nce broke out into a mutiny, immediately .before dM 

imotmd passage of the Bhiiie. Ammian. zviL 9. 
** /limmiaii. xyl 5. xviii. 1. Maniertinus in Panegyr. 




ed by Google 

A.D 357-^59.J or the roman empirs. MC 

ah ^ffeidiiiate tyrant, incapable of pity or remorso : and the 
haughty minister complained of the most decent and gentle 
opposition, while Julian himself was rather inclined to censure 
the weakness of his own behavior. The Gsesar had rejected, 
with abhorrence, a mandate for the levy of an extraordinary 
tax ; a new snperindiction, which the prsefect had offered f<Mr 
bis signature; and the faithful picture. of the public misery, 
by which he had been obliged to justify his refusal, offended 
the court of Gonstantius. We may. enjoy the pleasure of 
reading the sentiments of Julian, as he expresses them with 
warm& and freedom in a letter to one of his most intimate 
friends. After stating his own conduct, he fmx^eds in the 
following terms: "Was it possible for the disciple of Plato 
and Aristotle to act otherwise than I have done? Gould I 
abandon the unhappy subjects intrusted to my care ? Was I 
not called upon to defend them from the repeated injuries of 
these unfeeling robbers? A tribune who desierts his post is 
punished with death, and deprived of the honors of buiria?. 
With what justice could I pronounce his sentence, if, in the 
hour of danger, I myself neglected a duty far more sacred and 
(sx more important ? God has placed me in this elevated post; 
his providence will guard and support ine. Should I be 
eon<kmned to suffer, I shall derive comfort from the testimony 
of a pure and upright conscience. Would to Heaven that I 
still possessed a counsellor like Sallust ! If they think proper 
to send me a successor, I shall submit without reluctance; 
and had much rather improve die short opportunity of €k)ing 
good, than ^njoy a long and lasting impunity of evU."** The 
precarious and dependent situotioil of Julian displayed his vir- 
tues and concealed his defects. The ycMing hero who sup- 
ported, in G^ul, the throne of Oonstantius, was not permitted 
to reform the vices of the government; but he had courage to 
alleviate or to pity the distress of the people. Unless he had 
been able to revive the martial spirit c^.ihe Romans, or to 
introduce the arts of industry and refinemeint among their 
savage enemies, he could not entertain any radonal. hopes of 
securing the public tranquillity, either by the peace or con. 
quest of Germany. Yet the victories of Julian suspended, for 

'* Ammian. xvii 8. Juliaa Epistol zt. edit Spanheim. Such a 
oondnct almoBt justifies the encomitim of MamettinuB. Ita illi aani 

ipatia divisa sunt, ut aut Barbaros domitet, aut civibas jura restnuiaft; 
perpetnnm professus, aut contra hostem, aut contra vitia, eertamen. 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

246 TBB DBGUNE AND FALL [A. D. 357*859. 

ft ftliort time, the imoads of the Barbarians, and delayed the 
ruin of the Western Empire. 

His salutary influence restored the cities of Gaul, which had 
been so long exposed to the evils of civil discord, Barbarian 
war, and domestic tyranny; and the spirit of industry was 
revived with the hopes of enjoyment Agriculture, manu&o- 
tures, and commerce, again flourished under the protection of 
the laws; and the eurice^ or civil coiporatiohs, were again 
filled with useful and respectable members : the youth were 
no longer appreh^isive of marriage ; and married persons 
were no longer apprehensive of posterity : the public and pri- 
vate festivals were celebrated with customary pomp^^ and the 
frequent and secure intercourse of the provincses di^layed the 
image of national prosperity.*^ A mind like that of Julian 
must have felt the general happiness of which he was the 
author ; but he viewed, with particular satisfaclaon and com- 
placency, the city of Paris ; the seat of his winter residence, 
and the object even of Ins partial afiEection.*' . That ^lendid 
^pital, which now embraces an ample territcNy on either side 
of the Seine, was originally confined to the small island in the 
midst of the river, from whence the inhabitants derived a sup- 
ply of pure and. salubrious water. The river bathed the foot 
of the walls ; and the town was accessible only by two wooden 
bridges. A forest overspread the northern side of the Seine, 
but on the south, the ground, which now bears the name of 
the University, was insensibly covered with houses, and 
adorned with a pahice and amphitheatre, baths, an aqueduct, 
and a field of Mars for the exercise of the Roman troops. The 
-severity of the climate was tempered by the neighborhood of 
the ocean ; and with some precautions, which experience had 
taught, the vine and i6g-tree were successfully cultivated. But 
in remarkable winters, die Seine was deeply froeen ; and the 
huge pieces, of ice that floated down the stream,, might be 
compared, by an Asiatic, to the blocks of white marble which 
were extracted from the quarries of Phrygia. The licentious- 
ness and ! corruption of Antioch recalled t6 the memory of 

*^ libfmiufl, Orat. Parental in Imp. Julian, a 88, in Fabricius Bib- 
liothea GraBc. torn. viL p. 263, 264. 

*' See Julian, in Misopogon, p. 840, 841. The primitiTe state of 
Pftris is illustrated bj Henry Yalesius, (ad Ammian. zz. 4,) bis bieih- 
er Hadrian Yalesius, or de Valois, and M. D'Anville, (in their respeo- 
iive Notiiias of ancient Gaul,) the Abbe de Longuerue, (Description de 
la France, torn. i. p. 12, 13,) nnd M. Bonamy, (in the Mem. de I'Aca 
dAmie doa Inacriptior.s, torn. xv. p. 656 — 691.) 

Digitized by 


A. D. 357-359.] of thb romait empirk. 247 

Julian the severe and simpla^manners of his beloved Lutetia;** 
wliere the amusements of the theatre were unknown or de- 
spised. He indignantly contrasted the effeminate Syrians 
with the brave and honest simplicity of the Gauls, and almost 
forgave the intemperance, which was the only stain of the 
Celtic character.'* If Julian could now revisit the capital of 
France, he might converse with men of science and genius, 
capable of understanding and of instructing a disciple of the 
Greeks ; he might excuse the lively and graceful follies of a 
nation, whose martial spirit has never been enervated by the 
mdulgence of luxury ; and he must applaud the perfection of 
that inestimable art, which softens and refines and embellishes 
the intercourse of social life. 

'* T^y ^(Xi}r Afvircrtav. Julian, in Miso^ogoD, p. 340. Leuoe- 
tia, or Lntetia, was the ancient name of the city, which, aooordbg to 
the feshion of the fourth century, assumed the territorial appeUatioa 
of Parinu 

** Julian, m Misopogon, p 869, 860. 

Digitized by 


tM IHX DXCumt^RB TAi?^ f^.D.SOCi 



The public establishment of Christianitj may be considered 
as one of those important and domestic revolutions which 
excite the most lively curiosity, and afford the most valuable 
instruction. The victories and the civil policy of Constantine 
no longer influence the state of Europe ; but a considerable 
portion of the globe still retains the impression which it re- 
ceived from the conversion of that monarch ; and the ecclesi- 
astical institutions of his reign are still connected, by an indis- 
soluble chain, with the opinions, the passions, and the interests 
of the present generation. 

- In the consideration of a subject which may be examined 
with impartiality, but cannot be viewed with indifference, a 
difficulty immediately arises of a very unexpected nature; 
that of ascertaining the real and precise date of the conversion 
of Constantine. The eloquent Lactantius, in the midst of his 
court, seems impatient' to proclaim to the world the glorious 
oxample of the sovereign of Gaul ; who, in the first moments 
of his reign, acknowledged and aflored the majesty of the true 
and only God.* The learned Eusebius has ascribed the fciith 

' The date of the Divine Institations of Lactantius has been accur 
rately discussed, difficulties have been started, solatioDs proposed, and 
an expedient imagined of two original editions ; the former patched 
during the persecution of Diocletian, the latter under that of lido- 
ius. See Dufresnoy, Pre&t. p. ▼. TiUemont, Mem. Ecdesiast torn. 
vi. p. 465 — 410. lliairdner's Credibility, part ii vol. vil p. 18 — 86. For 
my own part, I am almost conyinced that Lactantius dedicated his 
Institutions to the sovereign of Gaul, at a time when Galerius, Max- 
imin, and even Licinius, persecuted the Christians ; that is, betweeD 
the years 306 and 811. 

* Lactant Divin. Instit i. L vii. 21. The first and most important 
of these passages is indeed wanting in twenty-eight manuscripts ; but 
it is found m nineteen. If we weigh the comparative value of those 
manuscripts, one of 900 vears old, in the king of France's library, may 
be alleged in its favor ; but tho passage is omitted in tho correct mai» 

Digitized by 



of Oonstantine to tbe siirlhealons Biga which was di^kjfed is 
the heayeoft whilst he meditated and prepared the Itabao ex- 
pedition.' The historian Zo»m\i8 malidously asserts, that the 
emperor had imhtvedihis hands in the blood of his eldest son, 
before he publidj jrenounoed the gods of Rome and of his 
anf^tora*^ The perplexity produced by these discordant 
authorities is derived from the behavior of Oonstantine him- 
lelf. According to the strictness of ecclesiastical language, 
the first of the Christian emperors was unworthy of that name, 
till the moment of his death; since it was only during his last 
illness that he received, a^ a catechumen, the imposition of 
hands,* and was afterwards admitted, by the initiatory rites 
of baptism, into the number of the fiiithful.* The Christianity 
of Oonstantine must be allowed in a much more vagiie and 
qualified sense ; and the nicest accuracy is required m tracing 
(he slow and almost, imperceptible gradations by which the 
monarch declared himself the protector, and at kngth ths 
proselyte, of the church. It was an arduous task to eradicate 
the habits and prejudices of his education, to acknowledge the 
divine power of Qhrist, and to und^stand that the truth of his 
revelation was incompatible with the worship of the gods. The 
obstacles which he had probably experience in his own mind, 
instructed him to proceed with caution in the momentous 

uscript of Bol<^gDa, which tba P. do Moot&ucoa ascribes to the sixth 
or seyonth century (Diariom Italia p. 489.) The taste of most of the 
editors (except Isseus; see Lactont edit Dafresnoy, torn. i. p. 596) ha« 
felt the genuine style of Lactantios. 
> Boseb. in Y it. CoDstaat Lie. 27—32. 

* Zosimus, L ii. p 104. 

* That rite was alwayt used in making a catechumen, (see Bingham's 
Antiquities. L x. c. i p. 419. Dom Charaon, Hist, des Sacramens, torn. 
I p. 62,) and Oonstantine received it for the first time (Euscb. in Yit 
Coostaot^ L iv, a 61) immediately be&re his baptism and death. From 
the connection of these two facts, Yalesiua (ad loa £useb.)lias drawn 
the condusioQ which is reluctantly admitted by Tillemont, (Hist des 
£mpereura» torn. It. p 628^ and opposed with feeble arguments by 
Mosbeim, (p. 968.) 

* Euseb. in Yit Constant L iv. c 61, 62, 63. The legend of Con- 
stantine's baptism at Bome, thirteen years before his death, was in- 
vented in the eighth century, as a proper motive for hia donation. Such 
lias been the gradual progress of knowledge, that a fttory, of which 
Qardinal Baronios (Annual Ecdesiaat A. D. 324, No. 43--49) dedared 
Umself the unblushing advocate, is now feebly suppwted, even witliiii 
the verge of the Yatican. See the Antiquitates ChristianiB, torn, il p 
982 ; a work published with six approbations at Rome, in the yeat 
Uf V by Father Mamachi, a learned I>3minicaa 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 


Ml THft DfiCLI2fU AND FALL [ A. D. 89^. 

diange ^f a national rdigion; and h^ mseosibly disear^red 
his new opinioaa, as far as lie conld enforce them with safety 
and with ^kcL During th^ whde oourae of Ms reign, Uh 
stream of Christianity flowed with a gentle, though aooelerated, 
motion : but its general direction was sometimes checked, and 
sometimes diverted^ by the accidental . circumstances of the 
times, and by the prudence, or possibly by the caprice, of the 
.monarch. His ministers were permitted to signify the inten- 
tions of their master in the varions langui^ which was best 
adapted to their respective prindj^es ; ^ ami he artfully bahtnoed 
the hopes and fears of his subjects, by publishing in the saibe 
year two edicts ; the first of which enjoined the solemn bbserv- 
ance of Sunday,' and the second directed the regulai^ codsalta- 
tion of the Aruspices/ While this important revolution yet 
remained in suspense, the Christians and the Pagans watched 
the conduct of their sovereign with the same anaciety, but witlt 
very oppofflte sentiments. The former were prompted by every 
motive of zeal, as well as vanity, to exaggerate the marks of 
his &vor, and the evidences of his faith. The latter, till their 
just apprehensions were changed into despair and resentment, 
attempted to conceal from the worid, and from themselves, that 
the* gods of Bome. could no longer reckon the emperor in the 
number of their votaries; The same pa^ions and prejudices 
have engaged the partial writers of the times to connect the 
public profession of Christianity with the most glorious or the 
most ignominious aera of the reign of Constantine. 

Whatever symptoms of Christian piety might transpire iu 
the discourses or actions of Constantino, he persevered till he 
was near forty years of age in the practice of the established 
religion;** and the same conduct which in the court of 

' The qiUBstor,- or secretary, "who oomposed the Uw of the Hie- 
odosian Code, makes bis master say with indiffepence, "homimbna 
8ui>radictffi religionis/' (I xvi. tit. il leg. 1.) The 'miQister of ecclesi- 
astical affiurs.was allowed a mor^ devout and r^speetfol style, r^^ |y- 
Oiffftov Kal aytoirartii KadoXiKfjs B^mvKtiai ; the legal, most holy, and Oatho- 
Uc warship. See Eiiseb. Hist. Eccies. L x «. 6. 

' God. Theodoa. i il viil tit leg. 1. Ood Jostiftiaa L iii. tit. xii. leg. 
8. Conetantine styles the Lord's day diet ^is, a name whi^ oould 
aot offend the ears* of his pagan subjects. 

* Cod. Theodos. L xvl tit x. leg. 1. Godcfroy, in the diaraeter of a 
eommentator, endeavors (torn, vl p 257) to excuse Constan^ne; but 
the more zealous Baronius (AnnaL Eocles. A. D. 321, Na 17) ceDsara 
Us profane conduct with truth and aenierity. 

'^ Theodorct (1. i. c. 18) seems to inaii^^Lale that Helena gave hm 

Digitized by 


A«D. 837«] ov THJB BOM AM iSMPisir. sty 

Nioomedia iii%lit be imputed to Ids fear, could be ascribed 
(mly to the ineliiuikkm or policy of the sovereign of GauL 
His . libeiaUiy restored and enriched the temples of the gods * 
the medals wlueh isdRied from his Imperial mint are impressed 
with ihe figures and attributes of Jupiter and Apofio, of Mars 
aikd Herci^;. and his filial piety increased' the council of 
Olympus by the solemn apotheosis of his fiither Constantius/' 
But tiie devotion of Constantino, was more, peculiariy directed 
to the genius of the Sim^ the Apollo of Gteek and Bomao 
mytholctgy ; and hei was pleased to be represented with the 
symbols of the Qod 6f L^ht. and Poetfy. The unerring shafts 
of that deity^ ^e brigtoiess of his eyes, his laurel wreath, 
immortal b^uty, and elegaiit aooomplishmentB,-Beem to poim 
him out as the patron of a y^amg hero. The idtaos of Apolk 
were crowned with the votive offerings of Constantine; anc 
the credulous, i^ultitude were taught to believe^ tibat the em- 
peror was permitted to behold with mortal eyes the visible 
majesty of their ti;^lar deitj; ,and. that, eidier waUdlig or in 
a vision, he was blessed wit^ the auspicious omens of a bng 
and victorious reign. Tbe Sun was umversally celebrated ^ 
the invincible' guide and protector of Oonstantitte; and the 
Pagans might JCeaaOnabiy expeot that the insulted god would 
pursue with unrelenting yetigeanca the impiety of hia ungrate* 
ful favorite.", 

As long as Constantine cDerdised a limited. eorer^gnty over 
the provipces e£ Gaul, his Christian subjects wece protected 
by the authority, aud perhaps by the laws, of a prince, who 
wisely left to the gc^ the care of vindicating their own honor. 
If we may credit the assertion of Constantine himself, he had 

§011 a Ofaristisn edtfctltion ; but we may be assured, from the superior 
aaihiCHrity of Bnaebius; (in Yit. OondtMit 1. iiL c 41,) that she herself 
was indebte4 to OODBtantine for the knowledge of Ghrisiiaaity. 

" See the medals of Constantine in Bucange and Banduri. As 
few cities had retained )the privilege of coining, almost all the medals 
of that age issued' from the mint under the sanction of the Imperial 

'• The panegyric of Eumenius, (vil inter Panegyr. Vet,) which was 
pronounced a few months before the Italian war, abounds with dbe 
moet unexceptionable evidence of the Pagan superstition of Oonstan- 
tine, and of his particular veneration for Apollo^ or the Sun ; to which 
/ulian alludes, (Orat vii p. 228, diroXaivcav <rL) See Cimmentairs 4s 
0paaheim sur les Cesars, p. 817. 

* Bckbel Doctrin Nnm. vol. viii— III 

Digitized by 



been an indignant spectator of the savage orodtieB whk& wei% 
inflicted, by the hands of > Roman soldiers, on those dtiseM 
whose religion was their only crime.^' In the East and in the 
West, he had seen the different ei^ts of sererity and iBduU 
gence ; and as the former was rendered still more odions by 
the example of Qalerius, his implacable enemy, the latter was 
recommended to his imitation by the aiith<mt^ and advice of 
a dying Esther. The son of Oonstanthis immediately sos- 
pended or repealed the edicts of peisecutjon, aad granted ike 
free exercise of their religious ceremonies to all t^oee who had 
already professed themselres members of the chundi. They 
were soon encouraged to depend on the iator as w<ril as on the 
justice of thehr jsovereign, who had imbibed a secret and sincere 
reverence for the name of Christ, and for the God of the 

About five months after the conquest of Italy, the emperor 
made a solemn and authentic dedaration of his sentiments by 
the celebrated edict of Milan, whidi restored peace to tlie 
Catholic chnrch. In the personal interview of the two west- 
em princes, Constantine, by the ascendant of genius and 
power, obtained the ready concurrence ci his colleague, 
Licinius; the union of their names and authority disarmed the 
fury of Maximin ; and after the death of the tyrant of the 
East, the edict of Milan was received as a general and fuiida' 
mental law of the Roman world/* 

The wisdom of the emperors provided for the restitution of 
hH the civil and religious rights of which the Christians had 
been so unjustly deprived. It was enactefd that the places of 
worship, and public lands, which had been confiscated; should 
be restored to the church, without dispute, without delay, and 
without expense ; and this severe injunction was aocpmpaiDied 
with a gracious promise, that if any of the purchasers had 
paid a Mr and ifdequate price, they should be indemnified 

'' Constantia Orat ad Sanctos, c. 25. But it might easily b« 
thown, that the Greek translator has improved the sense of the Latio 
original; and t^e aged emperor might recollect the persecution of 
DimJetian with a more lively abhorrence than he had actually felt in 
the. days of Ids youth and Paganism. 

" See Euseb. Hist Eccles. 1. viil 13, L ix. 9, and in Vit. Const L i 
& 16, 17 Lactant Diyin. Instiiut L 1. Csecilius de Mort Perse- 
cat a 25 

^^ CaBcilius (de Mort Persecut c. 48) has preserved the Iiatio 
original; and Eusebius (Hist Eccles. 1.* x. c 5) has given a Greek 
trc^islation of this perpetual edict, which refers t« some proTisioQa] 

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horn liie Imperial tvewiiiy. . The salutairy regulatiooa wbkb 
giuffd the futnie tnmf uiility of the fiEuthfiil aie framed on the 
pnndples of enlarged and equal toleration; and eneh an 
eqiudity miist hare been interpreted \ij a* recent eeet aa an 
aoTantf^eous and honorable di8tineti<M). The two^ emperors 
prochum to the world, that thej hare granted a free and abfto* 
lute ytm&r to the Ghrifltiana, and to all others, of foUomig the 
religion whidi eaoh individual thinks propi^r to prefer, to 
which he has addicted his mind, and. which he may deem the 
best adapted to his own nse. They carefully exj^ain every 
ambiguous word, remove ev«ry exeeption, and exact from the 
governors of the provinces a strict obedience to the true and 
simple nieaning of an edict, whidi was designed to establish 
and secure, without any limitation, the d^ms of religious 
liberty. Ihey condescend to assign . two weighty reasons 
which have induced them to allow this universal toleration : 
Uie humane intention of consulting the peace.akid ha{^)ineB8 
ci their people ; and the pious hope, that, by sadh a conduct, 
ihey shall appease tad propitiate the Deii^j whose seat is in 
heaven* They gratefully acxnowledge the many signal proo& 
which they have reeeived of the divine &vor ; and they trust 
that the same Providence will forever eontinue to protect the 
prosperity of the prince and people^ From these vague and 
UMlefinite ezpNssions of piety, three suppcsitiws may be 
deduced, of a different, but not of an, incompatible nature^ 
The mind of Constantino might fluctuate between the Pagan 
and tiie CSiristian religioB&i According to the loose and com- 
plying notions of Polytheism, he might acknowledge the Ood 
of the Christians as oim of the inanp duties who compose the 
hierarchy of heaven. Or perhi^ he.migbt embrace the phi* 
loB<^hic and pleanng idea, that, notwithstanding the variet]^ of 
names, of rites, and. of opinions, all the sects, a|^ all the nations 
of mankind, are united in the worship of the common Father 
and Creator of the univeise." 

But the counsels of princes al:6 more frequently influenced 
by views of temporal iulvantage, than by considerations of 

" A panegyric of Constantine, pronounced seven or eight monthi 
after the cmct of Milan, (see OothofrecL Chronolog. L^nm, p. 7, 
an:. Tillemont, Hist des Emperenrs, torn. iv. p. 246,) uses the foUow 
faig remarkable expression: **Siimme remm sator, eujoa tot Domiaa 

sunt, r'^ '' ^' — ^-"^' **■" *^ * — ^'"^ "~'^*' 

scire 1 

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abstract and specuiatiTe troth. Tlie partial and inerearii^; 
&vor of Oonstantine may naturally be Mfferred to tbe esteem 
whidi h» entertained for the moral character of the* Christians ; 
and to a peMnasion, that the propagation of the gospel would 
inculcate l^e practice of private and public tirtue. Whatever 
latitude an absolute monarch may assuoie in his owtxcooclaot, 
whatever indulgence he may claim i&t his own passions, it is 
undoubtedly his interest that all his subjects shodd respect the 
natural and civil obligations of sodety. - But the operation of 
the wisest laws is imperfect fmd precarious* They seldom 
inspire virtue^ they cannot alws^ restrain ^ce. Their power 
is insufficient to prohibit all that they condemn, nor can tfaey 
always punish Uie actions which they prohibit ^ The legislators 
of antiquity had summoned to their aid* the powers of edi&» 
cation and of opinion. But every principle which had onoe 
maintained the vigor and purity of Rome and Sparta, was long 
since extinguished in a declining and despotic empire. . I^ilos> 
ophy still exercised her temperate sway over the human mind^ 
but the cause of virtue derived very feeUe support ;from tbe 
influence of the Pagan Superstition. Under th/^ dficouraging 
ciftsiimstances, a prudent magistrate hsight observe with pleas* 
ure the progress of a reKgion which difiused among the pe6ple 
a pure, ben^olent, and universal system of ethics, adapted to 
every duty and eyery condition of< life; necommended as the 
will and reason of the supreme Deity, and the 
sanction of eternal ^rewards^' or punishments. Th^ experience 
of -Greek and Roman history could- not inform the worid how 
far the system of national manners tnight be reformed and 
improved by tbepreeepts of a: divine revelation; and Oon« 
staatif^ might listen with some confidence to the fiittteringv wid 
indeed reasonable, assurances of Laotantii». The^ ebqu^it 
apologist seemed firmly to expect, and almost veiitured to 
promise, that the estabUsbment of Christianity would restore 
the innocence and felicity of the primitive age; ^^t<the wor- 
ship of the true God would extinguish war and dissension 
among those who mutually considered themselves as the chil- 
dren of a common parent; that every- impure desire, every 
angry or selfish passion, would b^ restrained by the knowledge 
of the gospel ; and that the magistrates might sheath the sword 
of justice among a people who would be universally actuated 
by the sentiments of truth and piety, of equity and moderation, 
of harmony and universal love,*^ 

•' Se« tlie elegant description of Lactantius, (Divin. Tnstitiit. t. 8,) 

Digitized by 


A. D. $IS,] or THB ROMAN BMPItlK; 26§ 

The passive and Tusresi^ting obedietioe, which bows under 
the yok^ of authority, or even of c^pFession, must have ap 
peared, in the eyes of an absolute- monarch, Hie most con- 
spicnous and useful of the evangelic virtues.^ The primitive 
Christians derived the instittttion of civil govermnent, no^ from 
the consent' of ^ people^- but from the decrees of Heaven. 
The reigning eisperor, though he had ^usurped the sceptre by 
treason and murder, imme<&d;ely assumed the saered character 
of vioegeiient of the Deityi To thia Deity alone he was aoi.^ 
oountaible' for the abuse ^ his power ; ^nd his subjects wen> 
indiasolubly bound, by their oath of fidelity, to a tyrantj who 
had violated eveiy law of nature' and = society. The humble 
Christians were sent' into the 'vrortd as sheep among Wolves ; 
and since they w^ not- permitted to employ force, even in 
ther defence of their religion, -they should be crtill more criminal 
if they were lempted to shed the blood of theil* fellow-crea- 
tures in- disputing the vain privifeges, or the sordid posses- 
sions, of ithis transitory Hfei' Faith^l to the doctrine of the 
aposHe, who in the re^ of Nero had preached the duty of 
unconditional submission, the Christians of the three first cen^ 
tunes preserved their conscience pure and innocent of the 
guilt of seebet conspiracy, or open rebellion. While they ex- 
perienced the 'rigor of persecution, they were never provoked 
eidi^ to iiifeet their tyrants in the field, or indignantly to with- 
draw themselves into some remote and sequestered comer of 
the globe/* The IViotestants-of France, of Germany, and of 
Britain,' who ateerted with such intrcipid ooumge their ciVil 
and refigbus freedonr, have been InsTiHted by the invidious 
comparison between the conduct of the prirtntive and of the 
reformed Cbristiaus.** Perhaps, insteafd of censure, some 

who is mticK more perspicuoiia and positive tban becomes a discreet 
prophet. I . . • 

]^ The political «yBiem of ihs Ghriitians is explained by Oroihis, de 
Jure Belli et f aois, L i. «. 8, 4L Groans was a r^ubUcan and aa ex- 
ile, but the mildness of his temper inclined him to support the estab- 
lished powers. 

.*• Terttlllian.'Appleg' c:Hie; a4, 8»; S6. Tamen nunqtiam Albin^ 
ftni» Dec Kigriam vel Oassiani inveniri potueruni OhristiabL Ad 
Scapulam, c 2. If this assertion be strictly true, it ercludes the 
Christians of that age firtni all dyil and'tnilltary employments, which 
would have compelled them to take ah active part m the serrice of 
tfadr respective governors. See Moyle*^ Works, vol. il p^ 349. 

** See the artful Bossuet, (Hist des Variations des Eglises PTotea- 
lintes, torn. iii. p. 210-258.) and the malicious Bayle, (torn ij. p 

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gi6 WB DSCUHB AND FAlb lA.D.Siai 

(q^oae may bd^tie to the. 8iiperi<Mr sense and spirit of our 
aikoeston, who had eoavkioed themselves that religio&' cannot 
abolish the unalienable rights of human natur^.'^ Perhaps 
the patience of the primitive <^urdi may be aseribed- to its 
weakness, as well as to ita virtue, A sect of unwariike ple- 
beians, without leaders, without arms, without fortifications, 
must have enoounterod inevitable destructioB ^ in a rash and 
fruitless resistance to the master ot the Roman legi<Hia. But 
the Christians^ when they depi^ecated the wiadi of Diocletian, 
or solicited ths fa%'or of Cottstat)tine» eonld att^e, with troth 
and confidence, that they Md the jN^cipla of passive obedi- 
ence) and that, in the iqpaoe of three centuries^ their conduct 
had always been conformable to their principles. They might 
add, that the throne of the emperors woidd be established on 
a fixed and perpanent basis, if all ihiair subgects, embracing 
the Christian doctrine, should learn to suflfer and to obey. 

In the general order of Piovidettoe, prmces and tyrants are 
considered as the ministers of Heaved, appointed to rule or to 
chastise the nations of the earth. But sacred history albrds 
manv illustrious examples ci the more inunediate interposition 
of the Deity in the government of his chosen people. The 
sceptre and the sword were oommiUed to the hands of Moses, 
of Joshua, of Gideon, of: David, of the Maoioabees; the vir- 
tues of those heroes were the motive or the effect iji the divine 
fiivor, the success of. their arms was destined to achieve the 
deliverance or the triuo^h of the churchL If the judges of 
Israel were occasional and temporary magistrates, the kings of 
Judah derived fi*om the toyal undioti of their great ancestor 
an hereditary and indefeasible right, whidi oould not be for- 
feited by their own vices, nor re^kd by the caprice of their 
subjects. The same extraordinary proridence, which was no 
longer confined to the Jewish people,, might elect Constantine 
sn<i his fomily as the protectors of the Christian world; and 
the devout Lactantius announces, in a prophetic tone, the 
^tuie glories of his long and universal reigti." Galerius and 

S20.) I n€me Bayle, for he was otriaMy &e author of the Atm 
avz Refogies; oonsult the Bietiomaire Critique de Ohaufiepi^, toni. i 
part ii. p. 145. 

" Bachaaan is the earliett, or at least the most celebrated, of tiM 
rcfonoera, who has justified the theory of reostanoe. See his Dis^ 
logue de Jure Begm apud Scotos, torn, il p. 28, 80, edit fol R«l' 

** lACtant Divin. Institui. i. 1. Eusebhis. in the course of U* 

Digitized by 


A.i).S2.4.j or 1UK ROMAN SMPIBI. 169 

Maximiii, MaxonthiB and liciiiiiiSy were the rivak who Bhaved 
with the fiiVQiite of heaven the provinoeB ci the empire. The 
tragic deaOs of GalerioB and Manmin aoon gratified the 
resentment, and fiilfilled the aangmne ezpectationa^ of the 
Christiaiis. The snccess of Constantine against Magentins 
and Lieiniqs removed the two formidable competitors who 
stall <^po8ed the trimnph of the second David, and his canse 
might seem to daim the peculiar interposition of Providence. 
The character of the Boinan tyrant disgraced the purpie and 
human nature; and though the Ghristians might enjoj his 
precarious favor, they were exposed, with the rest of his sub- 
jects, to the efiBdCts of his wanton nnd o^ridous cruelty. The 
conduct of Udnius soon betrayed the rduelance with which 
he had consented to the wise and humane regulations of the 
edict of Milan. The convocation of piovinaal synods was 
prohibited in hia dominioas ; his Christian officers were igao- 
miniously dismissed ; and if he avoided the guilt, or rather 
danger, of a general > peiseeution, his partial oppressions were 
rendered still more odious by the vidation ci a solemn and 
voluntary engagement" While the East, according to the 
lively expre8si<Hi of Eusebiua, was involved in the shades of 
infernal darkness, the aus^Hoious rays of celestial light wanned 
and illuminated the provinces of the West The piety of 
Constantine was admitted as an unexceptionable proof of the 
•uAtioe of his arms; and his use of victory confirmed the 
opinion of the Christians, that their hero was inspired, md 
eonducted, by the Lord of Hosts. The conquest of Italy pro^ 
duoed a general edict of toleration ; and as soon as the defeat 
of lidnins had invested Constantine with the sole dominion 
cf the Roman world, he immediately, by circular letters, 
exhorted all his subjectB to imitate, without delay, the exaimplo 
of their sovereign, and to embrace the divine truth ci Chris 

The assurance that the elevation of Constantiae was inti^ 
mately connected with the designs of Providence, instilled into 
the minds of the Christians two opinions, which, by very 

history, his life, and his oration, repeatedly inculcates the diyine right 
of GoDstantine to the empire. 

" Our inmetfeet knowledge of the perBOcutioo of lionius is de- 
rived from EusebiQ8» (Hkt Eodes. L x e. 8. ViL Oonstantia. Lie 
4a— <^ 1. iL c 1, a.) Aurelius Victor meatioM his cruelty in gSBMrsl 

*• Euseb. k: Vit. Oooatant. L il c. ?4— 42 48*-a0. 

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different moans, asaiated the aooompliafameat of the propbeej. 
Their warm and active loyalty exhausted in his fiivor every 
resonroe of human industry ; and they confidently expected 
that their strenuous efforts would be seconded by some divine 
and miraculous aid. The enemies of Gonstantine have im* 
puted to interested motives the' alliance which he insensibly 
contracted. with the Catholic diurch, and which apparently 
sontribnted to the success of his ambition. In the b%inning 
of the fourth century, the Christians still bore a very inad<>> 
quate proportion to the inhabitants of the empire; but among 
a degenerate people, who viewed the diange of masters with 
the indiflEerence of daves, the spirit and umon of a religions 
party might asset the popular leader, to whose servioe, from 
a principle of consdence, they had devoted their lives and 
fortunes.** The example of his father had instructed Con* 
stantine to esteem and to reward the merit of the Christians ; 
and in the distribution of public offices, he had the advantage 
of strengthening his government, by the dioiee of ministers or 
generals, in whose fidelity he could repose a just and unre- 
served confidence. By the influence of these ^gnified mis- 
sionaries, the proselytes of the new faith must have multiplied 
in the court and army ; the Barbarians of Germany, who ^ed 
the ranks of the legions, were of a careless t^per, which 
acquiesced without resistance in tlie religion of thdr com- 
mander; and when they passed the Alps, it may fiuriy be 
presumed, that a great number of the soldiers had already 
consecrated their swords to the service of Christ and of Con- 
stantine.** The habits of mankind and the interests of religion 
gradually abated the horror of war and bloodshed, which had 
so long prevailed among the Christians ; and in the councils 
which were assembled under the gracious protection of Con- 
stantino, the authority of the bishops was seasonably employed 

" la the beginniiig of the last coiitisry, the Papists of Bngland -were 
only a thirtieth, fmi^ihe Protestants of France <my AjiftsetUh^ part of 
the respective nations, to whom their spirit and power were a constant 
object of apprehension. See the relations which Bentivoglio (who was 
then nnncio at Bmssels, and afterwards cardinal) transmitted to the 
flovrt of Rome, (Aelaciond, torn. ii. p. 211, 241.) Bentivoglio was 
curious^ well informed, but somewhat partial 

^' This oareleas temper of the Germans appears almost nnifonnly 
in the history of the conversion of each of the tribes. The legions of 
OoBstantiue were recmited with Germans, (Zoeiii^Lns, L ii. p. 86 ;) and 
the court even of hb father had been filled with GhristiansL See the 
first book of the Life of Gonstantine, by Eusebins. 

Digitized by 



ko ratify the obli^tion of the military oatb, and to inflict the 
penalty of excommimication on those soldiers who threat 
away, their, arms: during the peace o£ the church," While 
Oonstantine, in his own dominions^ incres»ed the number and 
seal of his &ithM adherents, he could depend on the support 
of a powerful . Action • in those provinces which were stiii 
possessed or usurped by his rivals* A secret disaffection was 
diffused among the Christian subjects of Maxentius and Licin- 
lus ; and the resentment, which the lattefr did not attempt to 
conceal, served only to engage them still more deeply in the 
interest of hia conlpetitor. The regular^ correspondence which 
eonnected the bishops of the most distant provinces, enabled 
them freely, to! communicate their wishes and their designs, 
and to tias^mit without danger any useful inteUigenee, or anv 
pious contributions, which might promote the service of Oon- 
stantine, who puUidy declared that he had taken up arms for 

the deliverance of the church." 

The enthusiasm which inspired the troops, and perhs^ the 
emperor himself had sharpened their swords while it satisfied 
their conscience. They mardied to battle with the full assure 
ance, that the same God, who had formerly opened a passage 
U> the Israelites through the waters of Jordan, and had thrown 
down the walls of Jericho at the sound of the truo^ts of 
Joshua, would display his visible majesty and power in the 
victory of Oonstantine. The evidence of ecclesiastical history 
is prepared to aflBrm, that their expectations were justified by 
the conspicuous miracle to which the conversion of the first 
Christian emperor has bt>^n almost unanimously ascribed. 
Ihe real or 'imaginary cause of so important an event^- de- 
serves and demands the attention of posterity; and I shall 
endeavor to form a just estimate of the famous vision of Oon- 
stantine, by a distinct consideration of the standard, the dreamy 

*^ De his qui arma projiciont in tHZ^^, placnit eos abstinere a com- 
muDioii& Council Arelat Canon, lii. The best critics apply these 
words to the pe€u;e of, the church, 

*• Eusebios always considers the 6tecond civil war against Licinius 
AS a sort of religious crusade. At the invitation of the tyrant, some 
Ohriatian officers had resumed their zones; or, in other words, had 
returned to the military serrice. Their conduct was afterwards cen- 
sured by the twelfth canon of the Council of Nice ; if this particu^ 
iar application may be received, instead of the lo ise and general seuiM 
of the Greek int^reters, Balsamon, Zonaras, and Alexis Aristenua 
See Beveridge, Pandect Eccles. Orsec. torn, i. p. T2, tom. ii. p. IS, 

Digitized by 



and the telestial sign; by separatang the historical, the natii» 
ral, and the marvellous parts of this extraordinary story, which, 
in the oompoffition of a specious argument, have been artfully 
confoonded in one splendid and brittle mass. 
L An instrument of the tortures which were inflicted cnly 
^ / on slaves and strangers, became ptL object of horror in the 
/ eyes of a Roman citizen ; and the ideas of guilt, of pain, and 
' of igno/niny, were closely united with the idea of the cross.** 

The piety, rather than the humanity, of Coostantine soon 
abolished in his dominions the pupisbment which the Savior 
of mankind had condescended to suffer ;*' but the ^nperoi 
had ahready learned to despise the prejudices of his educa- 
tion, and of his people, before he could erect in the midst of 
Rome his own statue, bearing a cross in its right hand ;. vrith 
an inscription which referred the victory of his arms, and 
the deliverance of Home, to /die virtue gf that salutary ^ign, 
the true symbol of force and courage.*^ The same symbol 
sanctified the arms of the soldiers Si Constantine ; the cross 
glittered on their helmet^ was engraved on their shidds, was 
interwoven into their banners ; and the consecrated emblems 
which adorned the person of the emperor himself were dis- 
tinguished only by richer materials and more exquisite work- 
manship.'' But the principal standard which displayed the 

'* Nomen ipsum crueh absit non modo a corpore civium Romano 
rum, Bed etiam a cogitatione, oeulis, auribus. Cicero pro Raberio, c. & 
The Christian writers, .Tastin, Minucius Felix, Tertullian, Jerom, and 
Masdmus of Turm, have investigated with tolerable success the figure 
or likeaess of a cross in almost every object of nature or art; in the 
intorseciion of the meridian and equator, we human fiioe, a bird flyifig, 
a man swimming, a mast and yard, a plough, a standard^ <&&, <&c^ <&c. 
See Lipsius^de Cruce, L i c. 9. 

'' See Aurelius Victor, who considers this law as one of the examples 
of Constantino's piety. An e^ct so honorable to Christianity deserved 
a place in the Theodosian Code, instead of the indirect mention of it, 
which seems to result from the comparison of the fifth and eighteenth 
titles of the ninth book. 

" Eusebius, in Vit Constantm. L L c 40. This statue, or at least 
the cross and inscription, may be ascribed with more probability to 
the second, or even third, visit of Constantine to E4>me. Immediately 
after the defeat of Maxentius, the minds of the senate acd people wcr« 
scarcely ripe for this public monument 

*' Agnoscas, regina, libens mea signa neoesse est ; 

In quibus efi^ies crucU aut gemmata refulf^t 
Aut loQgis solido ex auro pr»fertur in hastia. 
Hoc signo invictus, transmissis Alpibus Uttor 

Digitized by 


4.D.324.] OV THB ROMAN BllPIBS. 961 

triumph of the cross was styled the Labarum,** an obnciire, 
though celebrated name, which has been Tainly derived from 
dmost all the languages of the world. It is described'* as a 
long pike intersected bj a transversal beam. The silken Teil, 
which hung down from the beam, was curiously inwrought 
with the images of the reigning monarch and his children 
The summit of the pike supported a crown of gold which 
enclosed the mysterious monogram, at once expressive of the 
figure of the cross, and the initial letters, of the name of 
Chriat'* The safety of the labarum was intrusted to fifty 
guards, of approved valor and fidelity ; their station was 
marked by honors and emoluments ; and some fortunate acci- 
dents soon introduced an opinion, that as long as the guards 
of the labarum were engaged in the execution of their office, 
they were secure and invulnerable amidst the darts of the 
enemy. In the second civil war, Licinius felt and dreaded 
the power of this consecrated banner, the sight of which, in the 
distress of battle, animated the soldiers of Uonstantine with an 
invincible enthusiasm, and scattered terror and dismay through 
the ranks of the adverse legions.** The Christian emperors, 

Seryitiam eobrit miserabile Constantinus. 
« » » » » » 

Christus purpureum ^emmanti textus in auro 
8ignabat L<&arum, clypeorom insigDia Christus 
Scripserat; ardebat smmnis «r«a; addita cristis. 

Prudent in Symnmchum, 1. iL 464, 486. 
" The derivation and meaning o^ tlie word Labattim or Laborum^ 
which is employed by Qregory Nazianzen, Ambroee, Prudentius, <&&, 
«till remain totally unknown, in spite of the efforts of the critics, who , 
have ineffectually tortured the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic, Teutonic, 
niyric, Armenian, dec, in search of an etymology. See Ducange^ in 
OloM. Med. et infim. Latinitat sub voce Labarum^ and Godefroy, ad 
Cod. Thcodos. torn, ii p. 143. 

»* Bnseb. in Vit Constantin. L i. c. 30, 31. Baroniua (AnnaL Ec- 
cles. A. D. 812, No. 26) has engraved a representation of the Laba- 

** Transversa X litert, summo capite circumflexo, Christum in scu- 
tis notat. Csecilius de M. P. c. 44, Cuper, (ad M. P. in edit Lactant 
lorn, il p. 500,) and Baronius (A. D. 812, Na 25) have engraved from 
ancient monuments several specimens (as thus of these _P P 
monograms) which became extremely iashionaUe in the T~ >|< 
Christian world. 

■• Euseb. in Vit Constantin. L il c. 7, 8, 9. He introduces the 
L:ibarum before the Italian expedition ; but his narrative seems to in- 
dicate that it was never shown at the head of an army till Constan- 
tine above ten years afterwards, declared himself the enemy of LidaiuS: 
tnd the deliverer of the church. 

Digitized by 



virljo respec^d Uid example of Oonstantane, displayed in all 
their military expeditions the standard of the cross ; but when 
the degenerate viccessors of Thebdosius had ceased to appear 
in person at the head of their armies, the labamm was depos- 
ited as a venerable but useless relic in the palace of Oonstaii* 
tinople.'^ Its honors are still preserved on the medals of the 
Flavian &mily. Their grateful devotion has placed the mon- 
ogram of Christ in the midst of the ensigns of Rome. The 
solemn epithets of, safety of the republic, glory of the army, 
r(»toratipn of public happiness, are equally applied to the re* 
ligious and military trophies ; xad there is still extant a medal 
of the emperor Constantius, where the standard of the labamm 
is accompanied with these memorable words, 6t this sign 


11. In all occasions of danger and distress, it was the prac« 
tice of the primitive Christians to fortify their minds «and 
bodies by the sign of the cross, which they used, in all their 
ecclesiastical ntes, in all the daily occurrences of life, as an 
infallible preservative gainst every species of spiritual or 
temporal evil." The authority of the church might alone 
have had sufficient weight to justify the devotion of Constan- 
tine, who in the same prudent and gradual progress acknowl- 
edged the truth, and assumed the symbol, of Christianity. 
But the testimony of a contemporary writer, who in a formal 
treatise has avenged the cause of religion, bestows on the 
piety of the emperor a more awful and sublime character. 
He affirms, with the most perfect confidence, that in the night 
which preceded the last battle against Maxentius, Constantino 
* was admonished in a dream^ to inscribe the shields of his 

'^ See Cod. Theod L vl tit xxv. Sozomen, L I & 2. Theophan. 
Chronograph, p. 11. Theophanes lived towards the end of the eighth 
century, almost five hundred years after Constantine. The modem 
Greeks were not inclined to display in the field the standard of the 
empire and of Christianity ; and though they depended on every 
superstitious hope of defence, the promise of victory -would have ap- 
peared too bold a fiction. 

** The Abbe du Yoisin, p. 103, <&c, alleges several of these medals, 
and quotes a particular dissertation of a Je^ui^ the Fdre de Grainville, 
3n this subject 

" Tertullian de Corona, c. 3. Athanasius, torn. I p. 101. Tkie 
learned Jesuit Petavius (Dogmata Theolog. L zv. c. 9, 10) has collected 
many similar passages on the virtues of the cross whicn in the huA 
nge embarrassed our Protestant disputants. 

* Manso has obsenred, that Gibbon ought not to have separated the 
▼ifioQ of Constantine from the wonderful apparition in the: sky, as the lw« 

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4. D. 324.] OF TRB no&kAN smpire. 261 

joldiers with the cekstial sign of God, the sacred manogram 
of the name of Christ ; that he executed the command of 
Heaven, and that his valor and obedience wera rewarded by 
the decisive victory of the Milvian Bridge. Some considei* 
ations might perhaps incline a sceptacal mind to sospect the 
judgment or the yeracity of the rhetorician, whose pen, eiUiet 
from zeal or interest, was devoted to the cause of the prevail- 
ing faction.^ He appears to have published his deaths of the 
persecutors at Nicomedia about three years after the Roman 
victory ; but the interval of a thousand miles, and a thousand 
days, will allow an ample latitude for the invention of declaim* 
ers, the credulity of party, and the tacit approbation of the 
emperor himselfj wbo might listen without indignation to a 
marvellous tale, which exalted his &me, and promoted his 
designs. In £sivor of Licinius, who still dissembled his ani- 
mosity to the Christians, the same author has provided a 
similar vision, of a form of prayer, which was communicated 
by an angel, and repeated by the whole army before they 
engaged the legions of the tyrant Maximin. The frequent 
repetition of miracles serves to provoke, where it does not 
subdue, the reason of mankind ; but if the dream of Con- 
stantino is separately considered, it may be naturally explained 
either by the policy or the enthusiasm of the emperor. Whilst 
his anxiety for the approaching day, which must decide the 

*^ Cheilitis de M. P. c. 44. It is certain, that this historical decla- 
mation was compofied and pnblished while Lidnius, sovereiffn of the 
East, still preserved the friendship of Ooostantine and of the Chris- 
tians. Everv reader of taste must perceive that the style is of a very 
different and inferior character to that of Lactantius ; and such indeed 
is the judgment of Le Clerc and Lardner, (Bibliotheque Ancienne et 
Moderne, torn, iil p. 438. Credibility of the Gospel, Ac, part ii. vol 
viL p. 94.) Tl^ee arguments from the title of the book, and from 
the names of Donatus and Csecilius, are produced by Die advocates 
for Lactantius. (See the P. Leatocq, tom. it j). 46 — 60.) Each of these 
proofe is singly weak and defective ; but their concurrence has great 
weight I have often fluctuated, and shall tamely follow the Colbert 
MS. in calling the author (whoever he was) Csecilius. 

*^ CferiUns de H. P. c 46. There seems to be some reason in the 
cbserratinaof M. de Voltaire, (CEuvres, tom. xiv. p. 307,) who ascribes 
to the success of Constanthie the superior fame of his Labarum above 
the angel of Licinius. Yet even this angel is favorably entertained 
by Pagi, TiUemont, Fleury, Ac, who are fond of increasing their stock 
of irthraf les. 

woadcrR sre closely connected in Easebias. Manso, Lclcn Gonstantins, a 
9iL -iL 

Digitized by 


M4 tarn decuvs anp tail (^A.D.32i 

bto of the empire, was suspended by a short and intemipt«d 
slumber, the venerable form of Christ, and the weli-kiM)wii 
symbol of lus ^religion, miffht forcibly oflfer themselres to tbe 
active hncj of a prinoe mio reverenced the name, and had 
perhaps secretly implored the power, of the God of the Chiis- 
tians. As readily might a consummate statesman indulge 
himself in the use of one of those military stratagems, one 
of those pious frauds, which Philip and ^rtorius had em- 
ployed with such art and ^ect*' The praetematnral origin 
of dreams was universally admitted by the nations of antiquity, 
and a considerable part of the G^allic army was already pre- 
pared to place their confidence in the safatary sign of the 
Chiistiaa religion. The secret vision of Constantine coaid 
be disproved only by the event; and the intrepid hero who 
had passed the Alps and the Apennine, m^ht view with 
careless d^pair the ccHisequences of a defeat under the walls 
of Rome. The senate and people, exulting in their own deliv- 
erance from an odious tyrant^ acknowledged that the vietofy 
of Gonstantine surpassed the pow^s of man, without daring to 
insinuate that it had been obtiuned by the protection of the 
gods. The triumphal arch, which was erected about three 
yean after the event, prockiiins, in amb^ous language, that 
by the greatness of his own mind, and by an ifuHnci or im- 
pulse of the Divinity, he had saved and avenged the Boman 
republic^ The Pagan orator, who had seized an earlier 
opportunity of celebrating the virtues of the conqueror, sup- 
poses that he alone enjoyed a seeret and intimate comroeroe 
with the Supreme Being,^ who delegated the care of mortals to 
his subordinate deities ; and thus assigns a very plausible rea- 
son why the subjects of Constantino should not presume to em- 
brace the new religion of their sovereign/* 

** Besides theae well-known examples, Tollios (Prence to Boileaa's 
translation of Longinus) has discovered a vision of AntigoDua, who 
assured his troops that he had seen a pentagon (tlie symbol of safe^) 
with these words, ** In this conqaer." Bat Tollius has most inexcaBalHy 
omitted to produce his authority, and his own character, literary as weU 
as moral, is not free from reproach. (See Ghaufiepie, Dictiomuure Cri- 
tique, tom. iv. p. 460.) Witnout insisting on the silence of Diodonis. 
Plutarch, Justin, Ac^ it may be observed uiat Polysenus, who in a sepa- 
rate chapter (1. iv, c. 6) has collected nineteen military stratagems of 
Antigonus, is totalljr ignorant of this remarkable risioa 

** iDstinctu Divinitatis, mentis maenitudine. The inscription on fhs 
trinmphal arch of Gonstantine, whi<£ has been copied by Banmiu^ 
Gknter, A&, may still be perused by every curious traveller. 

** llal)es profecio aliqutd cum iUa mente Divinft secretum; qum 

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UL The phil(.sopher, who with calm suspciob examinei 
the* dioams and omens, the miracles and prodigies, of profane 
or even of ecclesiastical history, will probably conclude, that 
if the eyes of the spectators have sometimes been deceived 
by fraud, the understanding of the readers has much more 
frequently been insulted by fiction. Every event, or appear- 
ance, or accident, which seems to deviate from the ordinary 
:^urse of nature, has been rashly ascribed to the immediate 
Action of the Deity; and the astonished &ncy of the multi- 
tude has sometimes given shape and color, language and 
motion, to the fleeting but uncommon meteors of the air. ** 
Nazarius and Susebius are the two most celebrated orators, 
who, in studied panegyrics, have labored to exalt the glory of 
Constantine. JN'ine years after the Roman victory, Kazarius^' 
describes an army of divine warriora, who seemed to fall from 
the sky: he marks their beauty, their spirit, their gigantic 
forms, the stream of light which beamed from their celestial 
armor, their patience in suffering themselves to be heard, as 
well as seen, by mortals ; and their declaration that they were 
sent, that they flew, to the assistance of the great Constantine. 
For the truth of this prodigy, the Pagan orator appeals to the 
whole Gallic nation, in whose presence he was then speaking ; 
and seems to hope that the ancient apparitions *^ would now 
obtain credit from this recent and public event The Chris- 

delegatl noslar^ Diis Minoribua curi uni se tiU dignator ostendere 
Panegrr. Vet. ix. 2. 

** M. Freret (Mcmoires de TAcademie des Inscriptions, torn. iv. jk 
1(11 — 437) explains, by physical causes, many of the prodigies of anti- 
quity ; and Fabridus, who is abused by both parties, yaJnly tries to 
introduce the celestial cross of Oonstantine among the solar haloa 
Riblioth^c. Gr»a torn. ir. p. 8— 29 * 

*• ITazarius inter Panegyr. Vet x. 14, 15. It is unnecessary to name 
the moderns, whose undistinguiabing and ravenous appetite has swal- 
lowed even the Pagan bait of Nazarius. 

*' The apparitions of Castor and Pollux, particularly to announce th** 
Maoedcmian yietory, are attested by historians and public monuments 
See Cicero de Natura Deorum, il 2, iii 5, 6. Florus, ii 12. Valerius 
Maximus, L I c. 8, No. 1. Yet the most recent of these mirades is 
jmitted, and indirectly denied, by Livy, (xlr. I) 

The great diiBcalty m resolving it into a natural pheuomenon, arises 
from the inscription ; even the most heated or awestruck imagination woald 
baxidly'dltoover distinct and legible letters in a solar halo. B«t the inscrip* 
tion may have been a later embellishment, or an interpretation of the moan- 
ing which the sign was constraed to convey. Compare Heinicben, Bxeol 
■afl in kyaim Enscbii, and the ajtluns qnoted.— M. 

VOL. Tl. — M 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

360 TUE DECUfl£ AND J ALL [A.. B. 386 

tian f^ble of Eusebius, which, in the space of twenty-fiii 
years, might arise from the ori^nal dream, is cast in a miicb 
more correct and elegant mould. In one of the marches of 
Constantine, he is reported to have seen with his own eyes the 
luminous trophy of the cross, placed above the meridian sun 
and inscribed with the following words : By this coitquea 
This amazing object in the sky astonished the whole army, as 
well as the emperor himself, who was yet undetermined in 
the choice of a religion : but his astonishment was converted 
into faith by the vision of the ensuing night Christ appeared 
before his eyes ; and displaying the same celestial sign of the 
cross, he directed Constantine to frame a similar standard, and 
to march, with an assurance of victory, against Maxentius and 
all his enemies." The learned bishop of Caesarea appears to 
be sensible, that the recent discovery of this marvellous anec- 
dote would excite some surprise and distrust among the most 
pious of his readers. Yet, instead of ascertaining the pre- 
cise circumstances of time and place, which always sen'e to 
detect falsehood or establish truth;** instead of collecting 
and recording the evidence of so mauy living witnesses who 
must have been spectators of this stupendous miracle ;*• Eu- 
sebius contents himself with alleging a very singular testi- 
mony ; that of the deceased Constantine, who, many years 
after the event, in the freedom of conversation, had related to 
him this extraordinary incident of his own life, and had attest- 
ed the truth of it by a solemn oath. The prudence and grati- 
tude of the learned prelate forbade him to suspect the veracity 
of his victorious master ; but he plainly intimates, that in a' 
fact of such a nature, he should have refused his assent to 
any mesmer authority. This motive of credibility could not 
survive the power of the Flavian family ; and the celestial 
sign, which the Infidels might afterwards deride,'* was disre- 
garded by the Christians of the age which immediately 

** Euset^uS) L i c 28, 29, 30. The silence of the same Eusebiu^ in 
his Ecclesiastical History, is deeply felt by those advocates for the mira* 
cle who are not ahsolutely callous. 

** The narrative of Constantine seems to indicate, that he saw the 
«4uss in the sky before he passed the Alps against Maxentius. The 
«eene has been fixed by provincial vanity at Treves, Besan$oo, «&c. 
See Tillemont, Hist des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 5t8. 

•• The pious Tillemont (Mem. Ecdes. torn, vii p. 1817) rejects -mth 
^ sigh the useful Acts of Artemius, a veteran and a martyr, who atteiti 
as an eye-witness to the vision of Constantine. 

•* Gelasius Cyzic in Act. Concil. Nicea. 1. i. c. 4. 

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A.D.338.} OF THE ROMAH EMPIRE. '26^ 

followed the conversion of Constantine." But the Catholic 
church, both of the East and of the West, has adopted a prod- 
igy, which favofls, or seems to favor, the popular worship of the 
cross. The vision of Constantine maintained an honorable 
place in the legend of superstition, till the bold and sagacious 
apirit of criticism presumed to depreciate the triumph, and to 
arraign the truth, of the first Christian emperor.** 

The Protestant and philosophic readers of the present age 
will incline to believe, that in the account of his own conver-^ 
sion, Constantine attested a wilful falsehood by a solemn and 
deliberate perjury. They may not hesitate to pronounce, that 
in the choice of a religion, his mind was determined only by a 
sense of interest ; and that (according to the expression cif a 
profane poet") he used the altars of the church as a con- 

^' The advocates for the vision are unable to produce a single testl- 
inony from the Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, who, in their 
voluminous writings, repeatedly celebrate the triumph of the church 
and of Constantine. As these venerable men had not any dislike to a 
miracle, we may suspect^ (and the sus|Hcion is confirmed by the igno- 
rance of Jerom,) that they were all unacquainted with the fife of Con- 
stantine by Eusebius. This tract was recovered by the diligence of 
those who translated or continued his Ecclesiastical History, and who 
have represented in various colors the vision of the cross. 

*• Godefroy was the first, who, in the year 1643, (Not ad Philostor- 
gium, L i c 6, p. 16,) expressed any doubt of a miracle whidi had been 
supported with equal zeal by Cardinal Baronius, and the Centuriatonr 
of Magdeburgh. Since that time, many of the Protestant critics have 
inclined tow-TJ-ds doubt and disbelief. The objections are urged, with 
great force, by M. Chauffepi6, (Dictionnazre Critique, tom. iv. p. (^--•ll ;) 
and, in the year 1774, a doctor of Sorbonne, the Abb6 du Vniaii^ 
published an apology, which deserves the praise of learning and mod- 

** Lors Constantin dit cos propres paroles : 

•Tai renverse le culte des idoles : 

Sur lea debris de leurs temples fumans 

An Dieu du Ciel j'ai prodigue Tenoens. 

Mais tons mes soins pour sa grandeur supr^ne 

ITeurent jamais d'autre objdt que moi-mdme ; 

Leb saints autels n'etoient & mes regards 

Qu'un inarchcpie du trone des C6sar8. 

L'ambition, U fiireur, 16s delioes 

Etoient mes Bieux, avoient mes sacrifices. 

L'or des Chretiens, leur intrigues, leur aang 

Ont cimentc ma fortune et mon rang. 
Ihe poem which contains these lines may be read with pleasure, bul 
caimot be named with decency. 

" The first Excarsas of Heinichen (in Vitam Constantini, p. 507) oor* 
tains a fall summary of the opiiiion<) and arguments of the later writsra 

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t06 THfl D&CUNE AND FAIX [A. D. 33P 

veni^t ibotstool to the throne of the empire. A condusior. 
BO liarsh and so absolute is not, however, warranted by. our 
knowledge of human nature, of Gonstantine, or of Christianitj. 
In an age of religious fervor, tlie most artful statesmen are 
observed to feel some part c^ the enthusiasm which they inspire ; 
and the most orthodox saints assume the dangerous privilege 
of defending the cause of truth by the arms of deceit and &lse- 
hood. Personal interest is often the standard of our belief aa 
well as of our practice ; and the same motives of temporal 
advantage which might influence the public conduct and pro- 
fessions of Gonstantine, would insensibly dispose his mind to 
embrace a religion so propitious to his fame and fortunes. 
His vanity was gratified by the flattering assurance, that he 
had been chosen by Ilenven to reign over the earth ; success 
had justified his di\ine title to the throne, and that title was 
founded on the truth of the Christian revelation. Ajs real 
virtue is sometimes excited by undeserved applause, the spe- 
cious piety of Gonstantine, if at first it was only specious, might 
gradually, by the influence of praise, of habit, and of example, 
be matured into serious faith and fervent devotion. The 
bishops and teachers of the new sect, whose dress and man- 
ners had not qualified them for the residence of a courts were 
admitted to the Imperial table ; they accompanied the monarch 
in his expeditions ; and the ascendant which one of them, an 
Egyptian or a Spaniard," acquired over his mind, was im- ; 
puted by the Pagans to tiie eifect of magic." Lactantius, who * 
has adorned the precepts of the gospel with the eloquence of 
Cicero," and Eusebius, who lias consecrated the learning and 

^^ This favorite was probably the great Osius, bishop of Ggrdova, 
who preferred the pastoral care of the whole' church to the govemment 
of a particular diocese. His character is magDificently, Siough con- 
dselj, expressed by Athanasius, (torn, l p 708.) See 'Dllemont^ M6111. 
Eccles. torn, vii p. 624~-4^61. Osios was accused, perhape UDJustly, of 
retiring from oourt with a very ample fortune. 

'* See Eusebius (in Vit Constant passim) and 2^imus, I iL n 

'^ The Chriatianity of Lactantius was of a moral railier than of* a 
my^sterious cast *^ Erat paene rudis (says the orthodox BuU) disci- 
phniB Christians, et in rhetoricfi melius quam in theolo^£ versatus." 
Pefensio Fidel Nicene, sect, iu c 14. 

wh3 have disciuNsed this interminable sabject. As to his conversion, where 
interest and inclination, state policy, and, if not a siiscere conviction of its 
tmtli, at least a respect, an esteem, an awe of CfaristianiQr, thos coincided, 
Constantino hinuKU would probably have been unable to trace the actual 
history of the workings of his own mind, or to a^siem its real inHuence M 
Mch concurrent motive. — M. 

Digitized by 


A.D 338.] OF THE ROMAN empihs. Mi 

philosophy of the Greeks to the aervioe of religioD," wen both 
received into the frieud^hip and faoMHarity of their sovereign ; 
and those able masters of controversy could patiently watch 
the soft and yielding moments of persuasion, and dexterously 
apply the arguments which were the best adapted to his char- 
acter . and understanding. Whatever advantages might be 
derived from the acquisition of an Imperial proselyte, he was 
distinguished by the splendor of his purple, rather than by the 
superiority of wisdom, or virtue, from the many thousands of 
his subjects who had embraced the doctrines of Christianity. 
Nor can it be deemed incredible^ that the mind of an unlettered 
soldier should have yielded to the weight of evidence, which, 
in a more enlightened age, has satisfied or subduevk the reason 
of a Grotius, a Pascal, or a Locke. In the midst of the inces- 
sant labors of his great office, this soldier employed, or affected 
to employ, the hours of the night in the diligent study of the 
Scriptures, and the oomposition of theological discourses; 
which he afterwards pronounced in the presence of a numerous 
and applauding audience. In a very long discourse, which, is 
still extant, the royal preacher expatiates on the various proofe 
of religion ; but he dwells with peculiar complacency on the 
Sibylline verses,** and the fourth eclogue of Virgil.** Forty 
years before the birth of Christ, the Mantuan bard, as if inspired 
by the celestial muse of Isaiah, had celebrated, with all the 
pomp of oriental metaphor, the return of the Virgin, the fall 
of the serpent, the approaching birth of a godlike child, the 
offspring of the great tfupiter, who should expiate the guilt of 
human kind, and govern the peaceful universe with the virtues 
of his father ; the rise and appearance of a heavenly race, p 
primitive nation throughout the world ; and the gradual resto- 
ration of the inno<5ence and felicity of the golden age. The 
poet was perhaps unconscious of the secret sense and object 
of these sublime predictions, which have been so unworthily 

*' Fabricius, with his usual diligeiice, has cclleoted a list of between 
three imd four hundred authors quoted in the EvaDgelkal Preparation 
of Eusebius. See Bibl OraBC. L v. c. 4, torn. vi. p. 37 — 56. 

** See GoDstantin. Oral ad Sauctos, c. 19 20. He chiefly depends 
on a mysterious acrostic, composed in the suciiii age after tbe Deluge, 
by the Erythraean Sibyl, and translated by Cicero into Latin. The 
initial letters of the thirty-four Greek verses form this prophetic nett- 
tence : Jesds Chbist, Son of God, Saviob of the Woau). 

•• In his paraphrase of Virgil, the emperor has frequently assisted 
vod improved the literal sense of the Latin ext See Blondftl des 
Sibylles, 1. i. c U, 15, 16. 

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appliijd U) the infant son of a consul, or a triumvir ; *^ but if a 
more splendid, and indeed specious interpretation <^ the fourth 
eclogue contributed to the conversion of the first Ohristiaii 
emperor, Virgil may deserve to be ranked among the most 
successful missionaries of the gospel/' 

The awful mysteries of the Christian faith and worship wera 
concealed from the eyes of strangers, and even of catechu- 
mens; with an affected secrecy, which served to excite their 
wonder and curiosity." But the severe rules of discipline 
which the prudence of the bishops had instituted, were relaxed 
by the same prudence in favor of an Imperial proselyte, whom 
it was so important to allure, by every gentle condescension, 
into the pale of the church ; and Constantiue was permitted, at 
least by. a tadt dispensation, to enjoy most of the privileges, 
before he had contracted any of the ob%ations, of a Christian. 
Instead of retiring from the congregation, when the voice of 
the deacon dismissed, the profane multitude, he prayed with 
the faithful, disputed with the bishops, pre^hed on the most 
sublime and intricate subjects of theology, celebrated with 
sacred rites the vigil of Easter, and publicly declared himself, 
not only a partaker, but, in some measure, a priest and hiero- 
phant of the Christian mysteries.** The pride of Constantino 
might assume, and his services had deserved, some extraordi- 
nary distinction : and ill<timed rigor might have blasted the 

** The different claims of an elder and younger son of Pollio, of 
Julia^ of Drusufi, of Marcellus, ai'e found to be incompatible with 
chronology, history, and the good sense of YirgiL 

•" See liowth de Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum Pralect. xxi. p. 289—293. 
In the examination of the fourth eclogue, the respectable bishop of 
London has displayed learning, taste, ingenuity, and a temperate 
enthusiasm, which exalts his fancy without degracUng Ms judgment. 

'* The distinction between the public and 3ie secret parts of divine 
service, the missa cateehtimenorum and the missa fdeliumy and tlie mys- 
terious veil which piety or policy had cast over the latter, are ver^ 
judiciously explained by Thiers, Exposition du Saint Sacrament, L i. 
e. 8 — 12, p. 59 — 91 : but as, on this subject^ the Papists may reason- 
ably be suspected, a Protestant reader will depend with more confi- 
dence on the l^med Bingham, Antiquities, L x. c. 5. 

•* See Eusebius in Vit. Const 1. iv. c 16—32, and the whole tenor 
of Constantino's Sermoa The faith and devotion of the emperor bafl 
Curnished Baiomi» with a specious argument in favor of his early 

* Compare Heinichen, Excursas iv. et v., where these qaestions ar9 ex* 
oiiced with candor and aduteness, and with constant reference to the opia- 
JDS oC more modem writers.^— M. 

Digitized by 


4. D. 338.J OF THE ROMAN EMPXRK. 271 

anripened fruity of his conversion; and if the doois of tha 
church had been strictly closed against a prince who had 
deserted the altars of the gods, the master of the empire would 
have been left destitute of any form of religious worship. In 
his last visit to Eome, he piously disclaimed and insulted tUe 
superstition of his ancestors, by refusing to lead the military 
procession of the equestrian order, and to offer the public vows 
to the Jupiter of the Capitoline HilL*^ Many years before his 
oaptism ^id death, Constantine had proclaimed to the world, 
that neither his person nor his image should ever more be seen 
wi'iiin the walls of an idolatrous temple ; while he distributed 
through the provinces a variety of medals and pictures, which 
represented the emperor in an humble and suppliant posture 
of Christian devotion.'* 

The pride of Constantine, who refused the privileges of a 
catechumen, cannot easily be explained or excused; but the 
delay of his baptism may be justified by the maxims and the 
practice of ecclesiastical antiquity. The sacrament of bap- 
tism''^ was regularly administered by the bishop himself, with * 
his assistant clergy, in the cathedral church of the diocese, 
during the fifty days Jbetween the solemn festivals of Easter 
and Pentecost ; and this holy term admitted a numerous band 
of infants and adult persons into the bosom of the church. 
The discretion of parents often suspended the baptism of their 
children till they could understand the obligations which they 
contracted : the severity of ancient bishops exacted from the new 
^nverte a novitiate of two or three years ; and the catechu- 
mens themselves, from different motives of a temporal or a 
spiritual nature, were seldom impatient to assume the character 
of perfect and initiated Christians. The sacrament of baptism 
was supposed to contain a full and absolute expiation of sin ; 
and the soul was instantly restored to its original purity, and 
entitled to the promise of eternal salvation. Among the prose* 

•• ZosimtiSy L iL p. 106. 

•• Eusebius in Vit. Constant I. iv. c. 15, 16. 

" The theory and practice of antiquity, -with regard to^ the sacra* 
ment of baptism, have been copiously explained by Dom Chardon. 
Hist, des Sacrcmens, torn. I p. 8 — 405 ; Dom Martenne do Ritibiw 
Ecclesia) Antiquis, torn. I ; and oy Bingham, in the tenth and eleventh 
books of hit Ohristian Antiquities. One circumstance may be ob- 
served, in which the modem dnurches have materially departed from 
the ancient custom. The sacrament of baptism (even when it was 
administered to infants) was immediately followed by confirmatioB 
and the holy comraumon 

Digitized by 



lytes of Christianity, there are maBy who judged it imprudent 
to precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated ; to 
throw away an inestimable privilege, which could never bo 
recovered. By the delay of their baptism, they could venture 
^ely to indulge their passions in the enjoyments of this 
world, while they still retained in their own hands the means 
of a sure and easy absolution.** The sublime theory of the 
gospel had made a much fainter impression on the heart than 
ya the understanding of Constantine himself. He pursued the 
great object of his ambition through the dark and bloody paths 
of war and policy ; and, after the victory, he abandoned him- 
self without moderation, to the abuse of his fortune. Instead 
of asserting his just superiority above the imperfect heroism 
and pro&ne philosophy of Trajan and the Antonines, the ma- 
ture age of Constantine forfeited the reputation which he had 
acquired in his youth. As he gradually advanced in the 
knowledge of truth, he proportionally declined in the practice 
of virtue ; and the same year of his reign in which he con- 
vened the council of Nice, was polluted by the execution, or 
rather murder, of his eldest son. This date is alone sufficient 
to refute the ignorant and malidous suggestions of Zosimus/' 

"^ The Fathers, who censured this criminal delay, could not deny 
the certain and victorious efficacy even of a death-bed baptism. The 
ingenious rhetoric of Chrysostom could find only three arguments 
against these prudent Christians. 1. Tliat we shoiud love and pursue 
vurtue for her own sake, and not merely for the reward. 2. That we may 
be surprised by death without an opportunity of baptism. S. TbaJk 
although we shall be placed in heaven, we shall only twinkle like. little 
stars, when compared to the suns of righteousness who have run their 
appointed course with labor, with success, and with glory. Chrysos- 
tom in Epist ad Hebrasos, Homil. ziii. apud Chardon, !mst. des Sa* 
tremens, tom. 1 p. 49. I believe that this delay of baptism, thougli 
attended irith the most pernicious consequences, was never coiw 
demned by any general or provincial coimcil, or by any public ad 
or declaration of the church. The zeal of the bishops was easily 
kindled on much slighter occasions.* 

^* Zosimus, 1. il p. 104. For this disingenuoBj falsehood he has 
deserved and experienced the harshest treatment from all the eiodesl- 
astical writers, except Cardinal Baronius, (A. D. 824| No. 16 — 28,) 
who had occasion to employ the infidel on a particular service against 
the Arian Eusebiu&f 

" This passage of Chrysostom, thoagh not in his more forcible manner, is 
not quite faidy represented. He is stronger in other places, in Act Horn. 
axlii. — and Horn. i. Compare, likewise, the sermon of 6h«gory of KysM 
on this sabject, and Gregory Nazianzen. Ailer all, to those who behoved ia 
tiM eflScacy of baptism, what argument conld be more condasive, than the 
ianger of d^g w^ithoat it 7 Orat xl. — M. 

t ueyne, in a vakiable note on this passage of Zosimas. has shown dcci* 

Digitized by 



who affirms, ihat, after the death of Grispus, the remorse of hia 
&ther accepted from the ministers of Christianity the expiation 
which he had vainly solicited from the Pagan pontic At tlie 
time of the death of Orispos, the emperor could no longer 
hesitate in the choice of a religion ; he could no longer be 
ignorant that the church was possessed of an infallible remedy, 
though he chose to defer the application of it till the approach 
of death had removed the temptation and danger of a relapse. 
The bishops whom he summoned, in his last illness, to the pal- 
ace of Nicomedia, were edified by the fervor with which he 
requested and received the sacrament of baptism, by the sol- 
emn protestation that the remainder of his life should be wcothy 
of a disciple of Christ, and by his humble refrisal to wear the 
Imperial purple after he had been clothed in the white garment 
of a Neophyte. The example and reputation of Constantine 
seemed to countenance the delay of baptism.'* Future tyrants 
were encouraged to believe, that the innocent blood which 
they might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed 
away in the waters of regeneration ; and the abuse of religion 
dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue. 

The gratitude of the church has exalted the virtues and 
excused the failings of a generous patron, who seated Chris- 
tianity on the throne of toe Roman world ; and the Greeks, 
who celebrate the festival of the Imperial saint, seldom men- 
tion the name of Constantine without adding the title of equal 
to the Apo8tle9,^^ Such a comparison, if it allude to the 
character of those divine missionaries, must be imputed to the 
extravagance of impious flattery. But if the parallel be con- 
fined to the extent and number of their evangelic factories, 
the success of Constantine might perhaps equal that of the 
Apostles themselves. By the ^icts of toleration, he removed 
the temporal disadvantages which had hitherto retarded the 

''^ Eosebius, L ir. c 61,^ 62, 68. The bishop of Osesarea suppose! 
the salvation of C(»ifltantine with tbe most perfect confidence. 

" SeeTillemoDt, Hi8tde8£mper8iir0,tom.iv.p.429. The Greeks, 
the Ruasians, and, in the darker ages, the Latins themselyes, have been 
desirous of placing Constantine in the catalogue of saints. 

sively that this malicioiiB wi^ of aocoantmg for the oonrerBion of Constaii' 
tine was not an inyention of Zosinras. It appears to have been the carvenl 
calamny eagerly adopted and propagated by tbe exasperated Pagan party. 
Beitemeier, a later editor of Zosimns, whose notes are retained in the reoeut 
edition, in the collection of the Byzantine historians, has a disquisition en the 
iiassage, as candid, but not more conclasive than some which have pneeikd 
Urn." M. 

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if 4 THtf DKCLINB AKD FALL FA. D. 338 


DTOgreas of Christianity ; and ita active and numerotis miiiis* 
ters received a free pei-mission, a liberal ^oauragement, to 
'recommend the salutary truths of revelation by every argu- 
ment which could affect the reason or piety of mankind. The 
exact balance of the two religions continued but a moment; 
and the piercing eye of ambition and avarice soon discovered, 
that thv' profession of Christianity might contribute^ to the 
interest of the present, as w^l as of a future life." The 
hopes of wealth and honors, the example of an emperor, his 
exhortations, his irresistible smiles, difiused conviction nntiong 
the venal and obsequious crowds which usually fill the apart- 
ments of a palace. The cities which signalized a forward 
zeal by the voluntary destruction of their temples, were dis- 
tinguished by municipal privileges, and rewarded with popular 
donatives; and the new capital of the East gloried in the 
singular advantage that Constantinople was never profaned by 
the worship of idols.'* As the lower ranks of society are 
governed by imitation, the conversion of those who possessed 
any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon foU 
lowed by dependent multitudes." The salvation of the com- 
mon people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that, 
in one year, twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, 
besides a proportionable number of women and children, and 
that a white garment, with twenty pieces of gold, had been 
promised by Qie emperor to every convert.'* The powerful 

^^ See the third and fourth books of his life. He was accustomed 
to say, that whether Christ was preached in pretence, or in truth, he 
should still rejoice, (1. iii c. 68.^ 

*' H. de TiUemoDt (Hij9t. des Empereurs, torn. iv. p. 814, 616) has 
defended, with strength and spirit, the virgin purity of Constantinople 
against some malevolent insinuations of the Pagan Zosimus. 

'* The author of the Histoire Politique et rhilosophique des deux 
Indes (torn, i p. 9) condemns a law of Constantine, whicli gave free- 
dom to all the slaves who should embrace Christianity. The emperor 
did indeed publish a law, vhich resti*ained the Jews from circum- 
cising, perhaps from keeping, any Christian slave. (See Euseb. in Vit 
Constant L iv. c. 27, and Cod. ITieod. L xvl tit ix., with Gt^efroy's 
Commentary, torn, vl p. 247.) But this imperfect ezcepti0n related 
only to the Jews , and the g^ot body of slaves, who were the prop- 
erty of Christian or Pagan masters, could not improve their temporal 
condition by changing their religion. I am ignorant by what guides 
tlie Abb6 Raynal was deceived ; as the total absence of quotations ia 
the unpardonable blemish of his entertaining history. 

'* See Acta S" Silvestri, and Hist Eccles. Nicephor. Callist L vii 
s. 84, ap. Baronium Annal Eccles. A. D. 824, No. 67, 74. Such en- 
fienoc is contemptible enough ; but these circumstances arc in ihem 

Digitized by 


A.l).338.] Ulf TH£ ROMAN EMPIRE. *i7A 

influence of Constantine was not circumscribed by the narrow 
limits of his life, or of his dominions. The educiition which 
he bestowed on his sons and nephews secured to the empire 
a race of princes, whose faith was still more hvely and sincere, 
as they imbibed, in their earliest infency, the spirit, or at least 
the doctrine, of Christianity. War and commerce had spread 
the knowledge of the gospel beyond the confines of the 
Roman provinces ; and the Barbarians, who had disdained as 
humble and proscribed sect, soon learned to esteem a religion 
which had been so lately embraced by the greatest monarch, 
and the most civilized nation, of the globe.^* The Goths 
and Germans, who enlisted under the standard of Kome, 
revered the cross which glittered at the head of the legions, 
and their fierce countrymen received at the same time the 
J^sons of faith and of humanity. . The kings of Iberia and 
Armenia* worshipped the god of their protector; and their 
subjects, who have invariably preserved the name of Chris- 
tians, soon formed a sacred and perpetual connection with 
their Roman brethren. The Christians of Persia were sus- 
Dected, in time of war, of preferring their religion to their 

■elves so probable, tliat the learned Dr. Howell (History of the World, 
vol iii. p. 14) has not scrupled to adopt them. 

'• The conversion of the Barbarians under the reign of Constantino 
is celebrated by the ecclesiastical historians. (See Sozomen, L il c. 6, 
.and Theodoret, 1 1 c. 28, 24.) But Bufinos, the Latin translator of 
Kuscbius, deserves to be considered as an original authority. His 
tufonnation was curiously collected from one or the companions of 
the Apostle of u£thiopi:i^ and from Bacurius, an Iberian prince, who 
was count of the domestics. Father Maraachi has given an ample 
compilation on the progress of Christianity, in the first and second 
rolnmes of his great but imperfect work. 

• According to the Greorgiaa chronicles, Iberia (Georgia) was uonverted 
* Y the virgin Nino, who eneoted an extraordinary cure on the wife of the 
tin^, Mihran. The temple of the god Aramazt, or Armaz, not far from the 
aapital Mtskitha, was destroyed, and the cross erected in its place. Le 
Bean, i. 202, with St Martin's Notes. 

St Martin has likewise clearly shown (St Martin, Add. to Le Bean, i. 291) 
>^at Armenia was Uie first nation which embraoed Cliristianity, (Addition 
•.3 Le Beau, i. 76, and Memoires snr 1' Armenie, i 305.) Gibbon himself sas- 
;.ected this truth. — " Instead of maintaining that the conversion of Armenia 
vvas not attempted with any degree of success, till the sceptre was in the 
tands of an orthodox emperor," I ought to have said, that the seeds of the 
faith were deeply aown daring the season of the last and greatest persecu- 
tion, that many B^man exiles might assist the labors of Gregory, and that 
the. renowned Tiridates, the hero of the East may dispute with Constantina 
(he honor of being the first sovereign who embraced the Christian reiligMi 
^Vindication. Misr. Works, iv. 577. — M. 

Digitized by 



dountry; but as long as peace subsisted beween the two 
empires, the persecuting spirit of the Magi was effectuidlj re- 
strained by the interposition of Constantine." The rays of the 
gospel illuminated the coast of India. The colonies of Jews, 
who had penetrated into Arabia and Ethiopia,^' opposed the 
progress of Christianity ; but the labor of the missionaries was 
in some measure facilitated by a previous knowledge of the 
Mosaic revelation; and Abyssinia still reveres the memory of 
Frumentius,*' who, in the time of Constantine, devoted his life 
to the conversion of those sequestered regions. Under the 
reign of his son Constantius, Theophilus,'* who was himself of 
Indian extraction, was invested with the double character of 
ambassador and bishop. He embarked on the Bed Sea with 
two hundred horses of the purest breed of Cappadocia, which 
were sent by the emperor to the prince of tiie Sabaeans, or 
Homerites. Theophilus was intrusted with many other useful 
or curious presents, which might raise the admiration, and con- 
ciliate the friendship, of the Barbarians; and.he sucoessfullj 
employed several years in a pastoral visit to the churches of 
♦he torrid zone.'* 

The irresistible power of the Roman emperors was dis- 

'^ See, in Eusebius, (in Vit. Constant. L iv. c. 9,) the pressing and 
pathetic epistle of Constantine in favor of his Christian brethren of 

'* See Basnagc, Hist des Juifs, torn. vii. p. 182, torn, viil p. 888, 
torn. ix. p. 810. The curious diligence of this writer pursues the Jew- 
ish exiles to the extremities of the globe. 

^' Theophilus had been given in his infancy as a hostage by his 
countrymen of the Isle of Diva, and was educated by the Romans in 
learning and piety. The Maldives, of which Male, or DivOj may be 
the capital, are a cluster of 1900 or 2000 minute islands in the Indian 
Ocean. The ancients were imperfectly acquainted with the Maldives; 
but they are described in the two Mahometan travellers of the ninth 
century, published by Benaudot, Qeograph. Nubiensis, p. SO, 31 
D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 704. Hist. G^nerale des Voy 
ages, tom. viilf 

®° Philostorgius, 1. iiL c. 4, 6, 6, with Godefroy's learned observa- 
tions. The historical narrative is soon lost in an inquiry concerning 
the seat of Paradise, strange monsters, <&c. 

* Ahha Salama, or Fremonatas, is mentioned in the Tsreek Negnshti, €i 
Chronicle of the kin^s of Abyssinia. Salt's Travels, vol. ii. p. 464. — ^M. 

T See Ihe dissertation of M. Letronne on this question. He conceives tha; 
llicophilas was bom in the island of Dahlak, in the Arabian Gvlt Bit 
embassy was tc- Abyssinia rather than to India. Letronne, Mat^rianx povr 
THist da Christianisme en Egypte Indie, et Abyssinie. Paris, 183ft 9i 

Digitized by 


A. D: 312-348.] of the roman empire. 277 

played in the important and dangerous change of the nationat 
TeUgion. The terrore of a military force silenced the ^nt 
and misupported murmurs of the Pagans, and there was reason 
to expect, that the cheerfol submission of the Christian clergy, 
as well as people, would be the result of conscience and grati- 
tude. It was long since established, as a fundamental maxim 
of the Roman constitution, that every x^k of citizens was 
alike subject to the laws, and that the care of religion was the 
right ns well as duty of the ci\dl magistrate. Constantine and 
his suooe88<M« eould not ea^ly persuade themselves that they 
had forfeited, by thek conversion, any branch of the Imperial 
prerogatives, or that they were incapable of giving laws to a 
religion which they had protected and embraced. The em- 
perors still continued to exercise a supreme jurisdiction over 
the ecclesiastical order, and the sixteenth book of the Theo- 
dosian code represents, under a variety of titles, the authority 
which they assumed in the government of the Catholic 

But the distinction of the spiritual and temporal powers,*^ 
which had never been imposed on the free spirit of Greece 
and Rome, was introduced and confirmed by the legal estab- 
lishment of Christianity. The oflSce of supreme pontiff; 
which, from the time of Numa to that of Augustus, had 
always been exercised by one of the most eminent of the 
8enat(»s, was at length united to the Imperial dignity. The 
first magistrate of the state, as often as he was prompted by 
superstition or policy, performed with his own hands the 
sacerdotal functions;** nor was there any order of priests, 
either at Rome or in the provinces, who claimed a more 
sacred character among men, or a more intimate communi- 
cation with the gods. But in the Christian church, which 
instrusts the service of the altar to a perpetual succession of 
consecrated ministers, the monarch, whose spiritual rank is 
less honorable than that of the meanest deacon, was seated 
below the fails of the sanctuary, and confounded with the 

*^ See the epistie of Osius, ap. Athanasium, vol. L p. 840. The pab»'' 
lie remonstrance -which Oaius was ibrced to address to the son, con- 
tained the same principles of ecclesiastical and civil government which 
be had secretly instill^ into the mind of the fitther. 

*' M. de la Bastiel (Memoires de TAcademie des InscripHons^ Umu 
X?. p. 38 — 61) has evidently proved, that Augustus and his successor! 
ezarcised in person all the sacred functions of pootlfex maximns. or 
kigb priest, of the linman empira 

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Sl96 TBK DECLINS AND FALL [A. D. 312-94V. 

re§t of the &ithful multitude.'' The emperor might be saluted 
us'the father of his people, but he owed a filial duty and rev* 
erence to the fathers of the church ; and the same maxks of 
respect, which Constantine had paid to the persons of saints 
and confessors, were soon exacted by the pride of the epis- 
copal order.** A secret conflict between the civil and eccle- 
siastical jurisdictions embarrassed the operations of the Roman 
g^ovemment ; and a pious emperor was alarmed by the guilt 
and danger of touching with a profane hand the ark of the 
covenant The separation of men into the two orders of the 
clergy and of the laity was, indeed, &miliar to many nations 
of antiquity ; and the prieste of India, of Peisia, of Assyria, 
of Judea, of ^Ethiopia, of Egypt, and of Gaul, derived from 
a celestial origin the temporal power and possessions which 
they had acquired. These venerable institutions had grad- 
ually assimilated themselves to the manners and government 
of their respective countries ; " but the opposition or contempt 
of the civil power served to cement the discipline of the prim- ' 
itive church. The Christians had been obliged to elect their 
own magistrates, to raise and distribute a peculiar revenue, 
and to regulate the internal policy of their republic by a code 
of laws, which were ratified by the consent of the people 
and the practice of three hundred years. When Constantine 
embraced the faith of the Christians, he seemed to contract a 
perpetual alliance with a distinct and independent society; 
and the privileges granted or confirmed by that emperor, or 
by his successors, were accepted, not as die precarious fiivors 

^'. Something of a contrary practice had insensibly prevailed in the 
church of Constantinople ; but the rigid Ambrose commanded Tbeo- 
dosius to retire below the rails, and taught him to know the difference 
between a king and a priest See Theodoret, L v. c. 18. 

^ At the table of the etnperor Maximus, Martin, bishop of Tours, 
received the cup from an attendant, and gave it to the presbyter, his 
companion, before he allowed the emperor to drink; the empress 
wa/ted on Martin at table. Sulpicius Severus, in Vit. S*' Martin, c. gS, 
and Dialogue ii, 7. Tet it may be doubted, whether these extraordi- 
nary compliments were paid to the bishop or the saint The honors 
usually granted to the former character may be seen in Bingham's An- 
tiquities, L ii, c. 9, and Vt^es. ad Theodoret, l. iv. c 6. See the haughty 
ceremonial which Leontius, bishop of Tripoli, imposed <mi the. empresa 
llUemont, Hist dcs Enipereurs, tom. iv. p. 754. (Patres ApostoL torn, 
il P. 179.) 

'* Plutarch, in his treatise of Isis aud Osiris, informs us that the 
icings of ^jpt, who were not already price ts, were initiated, aAti 
ttieir election, 'nto the sacerdotal order. 

Digitized by 


A.P. 912-318.] UV TBA ROMAN BMPIIME. 9(t9 

of tbe courts but as the just and in^BenaUe rights of tiM 
eoclesiastical order. 

The Catholic church was administered by the spiritual and 
legal jurisdiction of eighteen hundred Ushops ; ** of whom 
one thousand were seated in the Greek, and eight hundred in 
the Latin, provinces of the empire. The extent and boun- 
daries of their re^)eetive dioceses had been variously and 
accidentally dedded by the zeal and success of the first mis- 
sionaries, by the wishes of the people, and by the propagation 
of the gospel. Episcopal churches were closely planted along 
tbe banks of the Nile, on the sea-coast of Africa, m the procon- 
sular Asia, and through the southern provinces of Italy. The 
bishops of Gaul and Spain, of Thrace and Pontus, reigned 
over an ample territory, and delegated their rural suffragans to 
execute the subordinate duties of the pastoral office.*' A 
Christian dipcese might be spread over a province, or reduced 
to a village ; but all the bishops possessed an equal and indel- 
ible character : they all derived the same powers and privileges 
from the apostles, from the people, and from the laws. While 
tbe civU and military professions were separated by the policy 
of Constantine, a new and perpetual order of ecclesiastical min* 
isters, always respectable, sometimes dangerous, was establish- 
ed in the church and state. The important review of their 
station and attributes may be distributed under the follow- 
ing heads : I. Popular Election. II. Ordination of the Clergy. 
IIL Property. IV. Civil Jurisdiction. V. Spiritual cen- 
sures. VL Exercise of public oratory. VII. Privilege of legis- 
lative assemblies. 

I. The freedom of election subsisted long after the legal 
estabhshm^t of Christianity;'* and the subjects of Rome 

•• The numbers are not ascertained by any ancient writer or original 
catalogue ; for the partial lists of the eastern churches are compara- 
tively modem. The patient diligence of Charles a S^® Paolo, of LulEe 
HolBtentius, and of Bingham, has laboriously investigated all the epis- 
copal sees of the Catholic church, which was almost eommensurate with 
the Roman empire. The ninth book of tho Christian antiquities is a 
yery accurate map of ecclesiastical geography. 

*^ On tho -subject of rural bishops, or C/iorepUeopiy who voted 
svnods, and conferred the minor orders, See Thomassin, Discipline de 
i'^Eglise, torn. i. p. 447, <Sec, and Chardon, Hist, des Sacremens, tom. y. 
p. 895, Ac. They do not appear tiU the fourth century ; and this 
equiyocal character, which nad excited the jealousy of the prelatesi 
mts abolished before the end of the tenth, both in the East and the 

" Hiomnssin (Discipline de TEglipe, tom. ii. 1. ii c. 1 — 8, p. 67>- 


Digitized by 


too T&S DECLINE AND FALL [A. Lr. 312-M( 

enjoyed in tiie cftunsli the privilege whicfe they had iost in thu 
republic, of choosing the magistrates whom they were bonD<s 
to obey. As soon as a bishop had closed his eyes, the metro- 
politan issued a commission to one of his suffra^s to admin- 
ister the vacant see, and prepare, within a limited time, the 
ftiture election. The right of voting was vested in the inferioi 
«lergy, who were best qualified to judge of the merit of the 
candidates ; in the senators or nobles of the city, all those 
leho were distinguished by their rank or property ; and finally 
in the whole bwly of the people, who, on the appointed day, 
flocked in multitudes from the most remote parts of the 
diocese,** and sometimes silenced by their tumultuous acclar 
tpations, the voice of reason and the laws of discipline. 
These acclamations might accidentally fix on the head of the 
most deserving competitor; of some ancient presbyter, some 
holy monk, or some layman, conspicuous for his zeal and 
piety. But the episcopal chair was solicited, especially in the 
great and opulent cities of the empire, as a temporal rather 
than as a spiritual dignity. The interested views, the selfish 
and angry passions, the arts of perfidy and dissimulation, the 
secret corruption, the open and even bloody violence which 
had formerly disgraced the freedom of election in the com- 
monwealths of Greece and Rome, too often influenced the 
choice of the successors of the apostles. While one of the 
candidates boasted the honors of his family, a second allured 
his judges by the delicacies of a plentiful table, and a third, 

721) has copiously treatjBd of the election of bishops during the five 
first centuries, horn in the East and in the West ; but he show* a very 
partial bias in &yor of the epiBcopsd ariatocnbcy. Bii^hani, (1. it. c. 2) 
IS moderate ; and Chardon (Hist des Sacremens, torn. y. p 108 — 128) 
is very clear and concise * 

^" iQcredibilis multitudo, oon solum ex eo oppido, (Tbwra,) sed etiam 
ex vicinis urbibus ad sufifragia ferenda conyenerat, (be Solpicius Seve- 
rus, in V it Martia c. 7. l%e council of Jiaodicea, (cfmon ziiL) prohilxts 
mobs and tumulti ; and Justinian confines the right of electton to the 
nobility. NoveL cacsiil 1. 

* This (reedom was extremdy limited, and soon annOiilated ; already, from 
die third century, the deacons wero no longer nominated by the memben ci 
tlie community, bat bv the bishops. Although it appeani b^ the letters of 
Cyprian, that even in his time, xk> priest coaLd be elected without the coa«. 
sent of the commuoity, (£p. 68,) that election was far from being altognther 
free. The bishop, proposed to his parishioners the candidate wbmn be had 
chosen, and they were permitted to make such objections as might be so^ 

K bed by his conduct and morals. (St. Cyprian, Ep. 33.) They lost th»t 
f Iglrt to>»'ards the middle of the fonrili centnrv.— <^ 

Digitized by 


A. IX 912 -848.] or thb bcman xmpike. ^91 

more guHfy than his rivals, offered to share the plunder of the 
church among the accomplices of his sacrilegious hopes* 
The mil as well as ecclesiastical laws attempted to exclude 
the populace from this solemn and important transaction. 
The canons of ancient discipline, by requiring several epis* 
eopal qualifications, of age, station, &c., restrained, in some 
measure, the indiscriminate caprice of the electors. The 
authority of the provincial bishops, who were assembled in the 
Tacant church to consecrate the choice of the people, was 
interposed to moderate their passions and to correct their 
mistakes. The bishops could refuse to ordain an unworthy 
candidate, and the rage of contending factions sometimes 
accepted their impartial mediation. The submission, or the 
resistance, of the clergy and people, on various occasions, 
afforded different precedents, which were insensibly converted 
into positive laws and provindal customs ; •* but it was every 
where admitted, as a nmdamental maxim of religious policy, 
that no bishop could be imposed on an orthodox church, with- 
out the consent of its members. The emperors, as the guar- 
dians of the public peace, and as the first citizens of Eome 
and Constantinople, might effectually declare their wishes 
in tho choice of a primate; but those absolute monarchs 
respected the freedom of ecclesiastical elections ; and while 
they distributed and resumed the honors of the state and 
army, they allowed eighteen hundred perpetual magistrates 
to receive their important offices from the free suffrages of 
the people.*' It was agreeable to the dictates of justice, that 
these magistrates should not desert an honorable station from 
— » — 

'* The epistles of SidoDios ApoUinaris (ir. 26, til 6, 9) exhibit seme 
of the scandals of the Oallican cfanrdi ; and Gaul was less polished 
and less oomipt than the Eae>t 

'^ A compromise was sometimes introduoed l^ law or by consent ; 
either the Inshops or the peo{^ chose one of the three candidates who 
had been nameq by the otiier party. 

'^ All the examples qnoted by Thomassm (Discipline de FEglise, 
tom. il L iL e. vi p. 704 — *J14) appear to be extraordinary acts of power, 
and even of oppression. The confirmation of the bishop of Alexandria 
is mentioned by Philostorgins as a more regolar proceeding. (Hist 
I'^cles. L iL 11.)* 

* Tbi! statement of Planck is more consistent with history : " From tn« 
diddle of the fourth century, the bishops of scnne of the larger churches, par. 
ticalarly those of the Imperial resid»ic*e, were almost alwavs chosen under 
the influence of the court, and often directly and immediately nominated by 
ifae emperor." Planck, Geschichte der Christ] ich-kirchlicben Gesellachaftik 
f erfiiflsnng, vol. i p 263. — ^M- 

Digitized by 


M8 TUE DSCLINli AND FALL [A. D. 3i2--34(|. 

wliioh they could not be removed ; but the wisdom of counciU 
endeavored, without much success, to enforce the residence, 
and to prevent the translation, of bishops. . The discipUue of 
the West was indeed less relaxed than that of the East ; but 
the same passions which made those regulations necessary, 
rendered them inefi&ctuaL The reproaches which angary 
prelates have so vehemently urged against each other, serve 
only to expose their common guilt, and their mutual indis- 

IL The bishops alone possessed the faculty of spiritual 
generation: and this extraordinary privilege might compete- 
sate, in some degree, for the painful celibacy"* which was im- 
posed as a virtue, as a duty, and at length as a positive obli- 
gation. The religions of antiquity, which established a separate 
order of priests, dedicated a holy race, a tribe or family, to the 
perpetual service of the gods.'* Such institutions were founded 
for possession, rather than conquest The children of the priests 
enjoyed, with proud and indolent security, their sacred inherit- 
ance ; and the fiery spirit of enthusiasm was abated by the 
cares, the pleasures, and the endearments of domestic life. 
But the Christian sanctuary was open to every ambitious cai^ 
didate, who aspired to its heavenly promises or temporal post- 
sessions. This office of priests, like that of soldiers or magis- 
trates, was strenuously exercised by those men, whose temper 
and abilities had prompted them to embrace the ecclesiastical 

"' The celibacy of the clergy during the first five or six centuries, 
is a subject of discipline, and indeed of controversy, which has been 
very diligently ezaminedL See in particular, Thomassin, Discipline 
de rEglise, torn. i. L ii c. Ix. Ixl p. 886 — 902, and Bingham'* An- 
tiquities, L iv. c. 5. By each of these learned but partial critics, one 
half of the truth is produced, and the other is concealed* 

*^ Diodorus Siculus attests and approves the hereditary Bucccssion 
of the priesthood among the £gyptiaas« the Chaldeans, and the 
Indians, (L L p. 84 L ii p. 142, 153, edit. WesseUng.) The magi are 
described by Ammianus as a very numerous family: **Per sadcula 
multa ad praasens un& eAdemque prosapi& multitudo creata^ Deorum 
eultibus <fedicsta." (xsiiL 6.) Ausonius celebrates the 8tirps Drni- 
darttnif- (De Professorib. BurdigaL iv. ;) but we may infer from the 
remark of OiBsar, (vi. IS,) that in the Celtic hierarchy, some room wa« 
left fcr choice and emulatioa 

* Compare Planck, (vol. i. p. 346.) This ceutaiy, the third, first broughf 
ftrtb the isonks, and the monks, or the spirit of monkery, the celibacy ol 
the clergy. Planck likewise observes, that from the history of Euseutt* 
akme, names of mvned Mshi^ps and presbyters may be adduced by drfseMi 

Digitized by 


A. D. 312-348.] OF THB ROMAK XMPIRX. 

profession, or who had been selected bj a d]s<>)miDg bibhop, 
as the best qualified to promote the glory and interest of the 
church. The bishops'^ (till the abuse was restrained by the 
prudence of the laws) might constrain the reluctant, and pro- 
tect the distressed ; and the imposition of hands forever be- 
stowed some of the most yaluable privileges of civil society. 
The whole body of the Catholic clergy, more numerous per- 
haps than the legions, was exempted^ by the emperors from 
all service, private or public, all municipal ofSces, and ail 
personal taxes and contributions, which pressed on their fel- 
low-citizens with intolerable weight ; and the duties of their 
holy profession were accepted as a full discharge of their 
obligations to the republic." Each bishop acquired an abso- 
lute and indefeasible right to the perpetual obedience of the 
clerk whom he ordained : the clergy of each episcopal church, 
with its dependent parishes, formed a regular and permanent 
society; and the cathedrals of Constantinople'^ and Car- 

*" The subject of the vocation, ordination, obedience, &c^ of the 
<derg^, is laborionslr discussed by Thomassin (Discipline de TE^lisc, 
torn. li. p. 1 — 88) ana Bingham, (in the 4th book of his Antiquities, more 
especially the 4th, 6th, and Yth chaptera) When the brother of 
St Jerom was ordamed in Cyprus, the deacons forcibly stopped his 
mouth, lest he should make a solemn protestation, which might in- 
validate the holy rites. 

*' The charter of immunities, which the clergy obtained from the 
Cliristian emperors, is contained in the 16ih bc^ of the Theodoeiac 
code; and is illustrated with tolerable candor by the learned Gode- 
froy, whose mind was balanced by the opposite prejudices of a ciyilian 
and a Protestant 

'^•^ustinian. Novell ciil Sixty presbyters, or priests, one hundred 
^cons, forty deaconesses, ninety subnleacons, one hundred and ten 
readers, twenty-five chanters, and one hundred door-keepers ; in all, 
five hundred and twenty-five. This moderate number was fixed by 
the emi|eror to relieve the distress of the church, which had been in- 
volved in debt and usury by the expense of a much higher establisb- 

* This exemption was very much limited. The manioipal offices were 
of two kinds ; the one attached to the individual in his character of inhab- 
ItvaU the other in that of proprietor, Ck>nstantine bad exempted ecclesi- 
astics from offices of the first description. (Cod. Thood. xvL t. ii. leg. 1, 
i& Eusebius, Hist Eccles. L x. c. viL) They soaght, also, to be exempted 
^m those of the second, (mnnera patrimoniomm.) The rich, to obtalu 
(Iiis privilege, obtained subordinate situations among[ the clergy. Constan* 
tine published in 320 an edict, bv which he prohibited the more opulent 
citizens (decuriones and curiales) from embracing the ecclesiastical pit> 
fsnioD, and the bishops from admitting new ecclesiaMics, before timaom 
AmH be vacant by tne death cf the occapant, (Godefroy ad CSod. Tneod» 

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thsge** maintained their peculiar establislmient of five hun* 
died ecclesiastical ministers. Their ranks** and numbers 
were ins^isibly multiplied by the superstition of the times, 
which introduced into the church the splendid ceremonies of 
a Jewish or Pagan temple ; and a long train of priests, deacons, 
sul>deacons^ acolythes, exorcists, readers, singers, and dooi- 
keepers, contributed, in their respective stations, to swell the 
pomp and harmony of religious worship. The derieal name 
and privileges were extended to many pious fraternities, who 
devoutly supported the ecclesiastical throne.*** Six hundred 
parabolaniy or adventurers, visited the sick at Alexandria ; 
eleven hundred copiatce, or grave-diggere, buried the dead at 
Constantinople; and the swarms of monks, who arose from 
the Nile, overspread and darkened the face of the Christian 

IIL The edict of Milan secured the revenue as well as the 
peace of the church.*** The Christians not only recovered 
the lands and houses of which they had been stripped by 
the persecuting laws of Diocletian, but they acquired a perfect 
title to all the possessions which they had hitherto enjoyed by 
the connivance of the magistrate. As soon as Christianity be< 
came the religion of the emperor and the empire, the national 

*^ TJmverBUfl derus ecdeslsB CarthagimeD£ds .... fere qttingewti vei 
ampllas; inter quos quamplurima erant lectorea infantuli Victor 
YiteDsis, de Px-secut v andiu. v. 9, p. 78, edit. Ruinart This remnant 
of a more proeperous state etill subsisted under the oppression of the 

•• The number of seven orders has been fixed in the Latin church, 
exdusive of the episcopal character. But tlie four inferior ranks, the 
minor orders, are now reduced to empty and usd.e8s titles. 

"" See Cod. Theodos. L xvi. tit h. leg. 42, 43. Godefi-oy's Com- 
mentary, and the Ecdeaiastical History- of Alexandria, show the danger 
of these pious institutions, which often disturbed the peace of that tur- 
bulent capitaL 

"' The edict of Milan (de M. P. c. 48) acknowledges, by renting, 
that there existed a species of landed property, ad jus corporis eomm, 
Id est, ecddsiarum non hominum Bin|^ioram pertinentia. Such a 
folcmn declaration of the supreme magistrate must have been received 
in all the tribunals as a maxim of civil law. 

I xiL t. i. de Decar.) Valentisian the First, by a rescript stiU more general 
Miacted tliat no ridi citizen should obtain a situation in the church, (De 
IBpisc. 1. Ixvii.) He also enacted that ecclesiastics, who wished to he ex- 
empt from offices which they were bound to discharge as propnetors, shouM 
be c»bUged to giro up their property to their relations. Cod. Thecdni. I ztt 
1. L leg. 49.— a. • 

Digitized by 



deigy might claim a decent aud honorable maintenance ; and 
the payment of an amiual tax might have delivered the people 
from we more oppressive tribute, which superstition imposes 
on her votaries. But as the wants and expenses of the church 
increased with her prosperity, the ecclesiastical order was still 
supported and enriched by the voluntary oblations of the 
iaithful. Eight years after the edict of Milan, Constantine 
granted to all his subjects the free and universal permission 
oi bequeathing their fortunes to the holy Catholic church ;'** 
and their devout liberality, which during their lives was 
checked by luxury or avarice, flowed with a profuse stream 
at the hour of their death. The wealthy Christians were 
encouraged by the example of their sovereign. An absolute 
monarch, who is rich without patrimony, may be charitable 
without merit ; and Constantine too easily believed that he 
should purchase the favor of Heaven, if he maintained the 
idle at tlie expense of the industrious ; and distributed among 
the saints the wealth of the republic The same messenger 
who carried over to Africa the head of Max^ntius, might be 
intrusted with an epistle to CaBcilian, bishop of Carthage. The 
emperor acquaints him, that the treasurers of the province are 
directed to pay into his hands the sum of three thousand /o^/^^, 
or eighteen thousand p& ^iids sterling, and to obey his further 
requisitions for the relief of the churches of Africa, Numidia, 
and Mauritania/^' The liberality of Constantine increased in 
a just proportion to his faith, and to his vices. He assigned 
in each city a regular allowance of corn,, to supply the fund 
of ecclesiastical charity ; and the persons of both sexes who 
embraced the monastic hfe became the peculiar favorites of 
their sovereign. The Christian temples of Antioch, Alexan- 
dria, Jerusalem, Constantinople &&, displayed the ostenta- 
tious piety of a prince, ambitious in a declining age to equal 
the perfect labors of antiquity."* The form of these reli^ous 

'*' Habeat imusquisque licentiam sanctiaeimo Oatholicse (eeetenoB) 
venerabilique coocUio, decedens bonorum quod optavit relinquefe. 
Cod. Theodos. 1. xtl tit il leg. 4. This law was publialicd at Kome, 
A. D. 821, at a time when Constantine might foresee the probability 
of a rapture with the emperor of the East 

*" fiusebius, Hist. Ecdes. 1. x 6; in Yit Constantm. L i7. a 28. 
He repeatedly expatiates on the liberality of the Christian hero, 'which 
the bishop hunseu had an opportunity of knowing, and even of tasU 

^^* Euaebius, Hist Eccles. L x. c. 2, 3, 4. The bishop of CscsariMk 
*bo studied and gratiiicd ^he taste of his master, pronounced in 

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edifices was simple and oblong; though they might sometitiiev 
swell into the shape of a dome, and sometimes branch into 
the figure of a cross. The timbers were liramed for the most 
part of cedars of Libanus ; the roof was covered with tiles, 
perhaps of gilt brass ; and the walls, the columns, the pave- 
ment, were enctusted with variegated marbles. The most 
precious ornaments of gold and silver, of silk and gems, were 
profusely dedicated to the service of the altar; and thii 
specious magnificence was supported on the solid and perpet* 
ual basis of landed property. In the space of two centuries, 
from the reign of Constantine to that of Justinian, the eighteen 
hundred churches of the empire were enriched by the frequent 
and unalienable gifts of the prince an<?. people. An annual 
income of six hundred pounds sterling may be reasonably 
assigned to the bishops, who were placed at an equal distance 
between riches and poverty,"* but the standard of their 
wealth insensibly rose with the dignity and opulence of the 
cities which they governed. An authentic but imperfect *** 
rent-roll specifies some houses, shops, gardens, and farms, 
which belonged to the three Basilicce of Rome, St. Peter, St. 
Paul, and St. John Lateran, in the provinces of Italy, Africa, 
and the East. They produce, besides a reserved rent of oil, 
linen, paper, aromatics, &c., a clear annual revenue of Iwenty- 
two thousand pieces of gold, or twelve thousand pounds ster- 
ling. In the age of Constantine and Justinian, the bishops no 
longer possessed, perhaps they no longer deserved, the unsus- 
pecting confidence of their clergy and people. The ecclesi^ 
astical revenues of each diocese were divided into four parts,- 
for the respective uses of the bishop himself, of his inferior 
clergy, of the poor, and of the public worship ; and the abuse 

public an elaborate description of the church of Jerusalem, * (in Yit 
Cons. 1. iv. c 46.) It no longer exists, but he has inserted in the 
Ufe of Constantbe (L iil c 36) a short account of the architecturo 
and ornaments. He likewise mentions the church of the Holy Apos- 
tles at Constantinople, (L iv. c 69.) 

*"• See Justinian. Novell, cxziil 3. The revenue of the patriarchs, 
4ud the most wealthy bishops, is not expressed : the highest annual 
valuation of a bishopric is stated at thirty^ and the lowest at /vo, 
pounds of gold ; the medium mi^ht be taken at sixteen, but these 
valuations are much below the real value. 

»•« See Baronius, (Annal Eccles. A. D. 824, No. 58, 65, "JO, 71.) 
Every record which comes from the Vatican is justly su^ected ; ye< 
these rent-rolls have an ancient and authentic color ; and it is at Mast 
evident, tliat, if forged, they were forged in a period yrhenfarmy «o4 
khi}di>msi, weife the objects of papal avarice. 

Digitized by 


A.D. 321.] OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, 281 

oi this sacred trust was strictly and repeatedly checked.*' 
The patrimony of the church was still subject to all the public 
icnpositions of the state."* The clergy of Rome, Alexandria, 
ThessaloDica, &c., might solicit and oblam some partial ex- 
emptions ; but the premature attempt of the great council of 
Rimini, which aspired to universal freedom, was successfully 
resisted by the son of Constantine."' 

IV. The Latin clergy, who erected their tribunal on the 
i'uins of the civil and common law, have modestly accepted, 
as the gift of Constantin'e,*" the independent jurisdiction, 
which was the fruit of time, of accident, and of their own 
industry. But the liberality of the Christian emperors had 
actually endowed them with some legal prerogatives, which 
«ecured and dignified the sacerdotal character.*" 1. Under 
a despotic government, the bishops alone enjoyed and asserted 

**^ See Thomassin, Dudpline de TEglise, torn, ill L il c. 18, 14^ 
15, p. 689 — *J06. The legal division of l£e ecclesiastical revenue does 
not appear to have been established in the time of Ambrose and 
Chrysostom. Simplicius and Gelasius, who were bishops of Rome 
in the latter part of the fifth century, mention it in their pastoral 
letters as a general law, which was already confirmed l^ the custom 
of Italy. 

'"^ Ambrose, the most'strenuous assertor of ecclesiastical privileges, 
submits without a murmur to the payment of the land tax " Si tri 
butum petit Imperator, non negamus ; agri ecclesiae solvuiit tributum 
solvimus quae sunt C^esaris Ciesaxi, et qua& sunt Dei Deo ; tributum 
GsBsaris est; non negator." BaronioA labors to interpret this tribute 
as an act of charity rather than of dutv, (AnnaL £cdes. A. D. 887 ;) 
^ut the words, if not the intentions of Ambrose are more candidly 
'•xplained by Thomassin, Discipline de TEglise, torn. ill. 1 1 c. 34. p 
•68. . 

"■ In Ariminense synodo super ecclesiarum et clericorum privi- 
legiis tractatii habito, usque eo dispositio progrcssa est, ut juqa qua 
viderentur ad eoclesiam pertinere, a pubUca functione cessarent in- 
quietudinc desistente ; quod nostra videtur dudum sanctio repulsissc. 
Cod. Theod. 1. xvi. tit. iL leg. 16. Had the synod of Rimini carried 
nhis point, such practical merit might have atoned for some speculative 

^** From Eusebius (m Vit Constant. L iv. c. 2*7) and Sozomcn (I I 
<i. 9) we are assured that the episcopal jurisdiction was extended and 
confirmed by Constantine; but the forgery of a femous edict, which 
was never fairly inserted in the Theodosian Code, (see at the end, 
tom. vl p. 803,) is demonstrated by Godefi*oy in the most satisiactory 
manner. It is strange that M. de Montesquieu, who was a lawyer aa 
well as a philosopher, should allege this edict of Constantine (Esprit 
des Ijoix, 1. xxix. c. 16) without intimating any suspicion. 

"* Tlie subject of ecclesiastical jurisdiction has beer involved in a 
lalft of passion, of prejudice, and of interest. Two of the fnxrrei 

Digitized by 


^gff TBB DSCLIKB AND FAL!« [A.D. 321; 

dtt inestimable privilege of being tried only by thmr pews; 
and even in a capital accusation, a synod of their brethrec 
were the sole judges of their guilt or innocence. Such a tri- 
bunal, unless it was inflamed by personal resentment or reli« 
gious discord, might be lEavorable, or even partial, to the sacer- 
dotsd order : but Constantine was satisfied,"* thjwt secret impu- 
nity would be less pernicious than public scandal : and the 
Nicene council was edii^ed by his public declaration, that if 
he surprised a bishop in the act of adultery, he should cast hia 
Imperial mantle over the episcopal siuner. 2. The domestio 
jurisdiction of the bishops was at once a privilege and a 
restraint of the ecclesiastical order, whose civil causes were 
decently withdrawn from the cognizance of a secular judge. 
Their venial offences were not exposed to the shame of a 
public trial or punishment ; and the gentle correction which 
the tenderness of youth may endure from its parents or in- 
structors, was inflicted by the temperate severity of the 
bishops. But if the clergy were guilty of any crime which 
could not be sufficiently expiated by their degradation from an 
honorable and beneficial profession, the Roman magistrate 
drew the sword of justice, without any regard to ecclesiastical 
immunities. 3. The arbitration of the bishops was ratified by 
a positive law ; and the judges were instructed to execute, 
without appeal or delay, tne episcopal decrees, whose validity 
had hitherto depended on the consent of the parties. The 
conversion of the magistrates themselves, and of the whole 
empire, might gradually remove the fears and scruples of the 
Christians. But they still resorted to the tribunal of the 
bishops, whose abilities and integrity they esteemed; and 
the venerable Austin enjoyed the satisfaction of complaining 
that his spiritual functions were perpetually interrupted by the 
invidious labor of deciding the claim or the possession of 

books -which have fallen into my handsi are the Institutes of Canon 
Law, by the Abbe de Fleury, and the Civil History of Naples, by 
G^iannone. Their moderation was the effect of situation as well as of 
temper, fleury was a French ecclesiastic, who respected the author- 
'ty of the parliaments ; Giannone was an Italian lawyer, who dreaded 
the power of the church. And hero let me observe, that as the gen- 
ial propositions which I advance are the result of many partiralar 
and unperfect facts, I must either refer the reader to those modem 
authors who have expressly treated the subject, or swell these Lotef 
to a disagreeable and disproportioned size. 

"' Tillemont has collected from Rufinus, Theodoret, <fec, the senti* 
immtB and Isinguage of Constantine. Mem. ikrcles. tom. iii p. '749, 150 

Digitized by 


A«D.321.'| OJ* THJB ROMAN EMPIRE. 289 

•flver and gold, of lands and cattle. 4. The andent irivilego 
of sanctuary was transferred to the Christian temples, and 
extended, by the liberal piety of the younger Theodosius, to 
the precincts of consecrated ground."' The furtive, and 
even guilty suppliants, were permitted to implore either the 
justice, or the mercy, of the Deity and nis ministers. The 
rash violence of despotism was suspended by the mild inter- 
position of the churdi ; and the lives or fortunes of the most 
emment subjects might be protected by the mediation of the 

V. Thie bishop was the perpetual censor of the morals of 
his people. The discijpline of penance was digested into a 
system of canonical jurisprudence, "^ which accurately defined 
the duty of private or public confession, the rules of evidence, 
the degrees of guilt, and the measure of punishment It 
was impossible to execute this spiritual censure, if the Chris- 
tian pontiff, who punished the obscure sins of the multitude, 
respected the conspicuous vices and destructive crimes of the 
magistrate : but it was impossible to arraign the conduct of 
the magistrate, without controlling the administration of civil 
government Some considerations of religion, or loyalty, or 
fear, protected the sacred persons of the emperors from the 
zeal or resentment of the bishops ; but they boldly censured 
and excommunicated the subordinate tyrants, who were not 
invested with the majesty of the purple. St Athanasius 
excommunicated one of the ministers of Egypt; and the 
interdict which he pronounced, of fire and water, was sol- 
emnly transmitted to the churches of Cappadoda."* Under 

"■ See CJod. Theod L ix tit xlv. leg. 4. In the works of Fra Paolo, 
(torn. iv. p. 192, <fec.,) there is an excellent discourse on the origin, 
claiins, abuses, and Umits of sanctuaries. He justly observes, that 
ancient Greece might |)erhap3 contain fifteen or tnrenty axyla or sanc- 
tuanes; a number wnich at present may be found in Italy wlthiit 
the waUs of a single city. 

"* The pnitential jurisprudence was continually improved by the 
eanons of (ne coimdls. But as many cases were stiu left to the diacre* 
tion of the bishops, they occasionally published, after the example of 
the Roman Praetor, the rules of discijuine which they proposed to ob* 
serve. Among the canonical epistles of the fourth century, those of 
Basil the Great wei'e the most celebrated. Tliey are inserted in the 
Pandects, of Beveridge, (tom. ii p. 47 — 161,) and are translated by 
Chardon, Hist.de8 Sacremens, tom. iv. p. 219 — 277. 

"* Basil, EpistoL xlvii in Baronius, (AnnaL Eccles. A. D. 870. No 
f 1,) who declares that he purposely relates it, to convince governor j 
(bat the}' were not exempt irom a sentence of excommunication. la 
VOL. II. — N 

Digitized by 


290 TH£ ])£CLIME AND FALI. [A.D. 821 

Uie reign of the younger Theodosius, the polite and eloquent 
Synesius, one of the descendants of Hercules,"* filled th? 
episcopal seat of Ptolemais, near the ruins of ancient Cyrene/* 
and the philosophic bishop supported with dignity the charac- 
ter which he had assumed with reluctance."' He vanquished 
the monster of Libya, the president Andronicus, who abused 
the authority of a venal office, invented new modes of rapine 
and torture, and aggravated the guilt of oppression by that of 
sacrilege."' After a fruitless attempt to reclaim the haughty 
magistrate by mild and religious admonition, Synesius pro- 
ceeds to inflict the last sentence of ecclesiastical justice,"* 

his opinion, even a royal head is not safe from the thunders of the 
Vatican; and the cardinal shows himself much more consistent thao 
the lasers and theologians of the Galilean church. 

"' The long series of his ancestors, as high as Eurysthenes, the first 
Doric king of Sparta, and the fifth in hneal descent from Hercules^ 
was inscribed in the public registers of Cyrene, a Laoedffimoniao 
colony. (Synes. Epist Ivii p. 197, edit. Petav.) Such a pure and 
illustrious pedigree of seventeen hundred years, without adding the 
royal ancestors of Hercules, cannot be equalled in the history of 

"' Synesius (de Regno, p. 2) pathetically deplores the fallen and 
ruined state of Cyrene, ir6\ts 'EXXi;v(f, vaXaidv ivo^a koI acjivdv, ml 

Ptolemais, a new city, 82 miles to the westwara of Cyrene, assumed 
the metropolitan honors of the Pentapolis, or Upper Libya, which 
were afterwards transferred to Sozusa. See Wessebng, Itinerar. p. 67 
68, 782. Celarius, Geograph. tom. it part ii. 72, 74. Carolus a S'" 
Paulo, Geograph. Sacra, p. 273. D'Anville, Geographie Ancienne 
tom. iil p. 48, 44. Memoires de TAcad. des Inscriptions, tonL zxxrii 
p. 863—391. 

*" Synesius had previously represented his own disqualificatioiu 
(Epist c. V. p. .246 — 250.) He loved pro£eme studies and profoni 
sports ; he was incapable of supporting a life of celibacy ; he disbe 
lieved the resurrection; and he refused to preach /a6fe« to the people, 
unless he might be permitted to philosophize 9-i home. Theophilus 
primate of Egypt, who knew his merit, accepted this extraordinaij 
compromise. See the life of Synesius hi Tillemont, M^m. Ecdes. tom 
xii. p. 499 — 654. 

"' See the invective of Synesius, Epist. IviL. p. 191—201. Tht 
■ promotion of Andronicus was" illegal ; smce he was a native of Bere- 
nice, in the same province. The instruments of torture are curiooslj 
specified', the Kucriifnov, or press, the ^oKrvX^flpa, the 7ro6o<npd07i, tht 
pivo>.&0tSf the oiTaypOj and the x^iXorpd^toi', that variously preased a 
distended the fingers, the feet, the nose, the ears, and the lips of tbf 

"• The sentence of excommunicaticm is expressed in a rheturical 
style. (Synesius, Epist Iviii. p. 201—203.) The method of iavoI?iiW 
whole families, though somewhat unjust, was improved into natioiiH 

Digitized by 




which devotes Andronicos, with his associates and their fanii* 
/tes, to the abhorrence of earth and heaven. The impeni- 
tent sinners, more cruel than Fhalaris or Sennacherib, more 
destructive than war, pestilenoe, or a cloud of locusts, are de- 
orived of the name and privileges 6f Christians, of the par* 
tidpation of the sacraments, and of the hope of Paradise. 
The bishop exhorts the clei^y, the magistrates, and the people, 
to renounce all society with the enemies of Christ ; to exclude 
them from their houses and tables ; and to refuse thetn the 
oommon offices of life, and the decent rites of burial The 
church of Ptolemais, obscure and contemptible as she may 
appear, addresses this declaration to all her sister diurehes of 
the world; and the profane who reject her decrees, will be 
involved in the guilt and punishment of Andronicus and his 
impious followers. These spiritual terrors were enforced by a 
dexterous application to the Byzantine court ; the trembling 
president implored the mercy of the church; and the descend- 
ants of Hercules enjoyed the satisfiustion of raising a prostrate 
tyrant from the ground.^'^ Such principles and such examples 
insensiUy prepared the triumph of the Roman pontifi^, who 
have trampled on the necks of kings. 

VL Every popular government has experienced the effects 
of rude or artificial eloquence. The coldest nature is animat- 
ed, the firmest reason is moved, by the rapid communication 
of the prevailing impulse ; and each hearer is affected by hb 
own passions, and by those of the surrounding multitude* 
The ruin of civil liberty had silenced the demagogues of 
Athens, and the tribunes of Rome ; the custom of preaching 
which seems to constitute a considerable part of Christian 
devotion, had not been introduced into the temples of anti- 
quity ; and the ears of monarchs were never invaded by the 
harsh sound of popular eloquence, till the pulpits of the 
empire were filled with sacred orators, who poss^sed some 
advants^es unknown to their profane predecessors.'" The 
arguments and rhetoric of the tribune were instantiy opposed 
with equal arms, by skilful and resolute antagonists ; and the 

"^ See Synesius, Epist zlriL p. 186, 187. Epwt Izzii p. 218, 219 
Epist hnrnx. p. 280, 281. 

^*' See Thomaasin (Discipline de TEglise, torn, il L ill c; 88, p^ 176J 
•<-l7'70,) aod Bingham, ( Antiqtdties, yoL i 1. ziv. a 4, p. 688 — 717.) 
Preach'ng was considered as the most important office of the bishop- 
but this function was sometimes intrusted to such presbyters as Chrvt* 
ostom and Augustin. 

Digitized by 


tn TUB DlCCUNie AND FALL [A.D.381. 


cause of feniih and reason might derive an accidental support 
from the conflict of hostile passions. The Inshop, or some 
distinguished presbyter, to whom he cautiooslj delegated the 
powers of preaching, harangued, without the' danger of inter- 
ruption or reply, a subifaissive multitude, whose minds had 
been prepared and subdued by the awful ceremonies of reli- 
gion. Such was the strict subordination of the Oatholio 
diurch, that the same concerted sounds might issue at ones 
from a hundred pulpits of Italy or Egypt, if they were 
tufud "' by the master hand of the Roman or Alexwidrian 
primate. The design of this institution was laudable, but 
the fruits were not always salutary. The preadiers recon* 
mended the practice of the social duties; but they exalted 
the perfection of monastic virtue, which is painfril to the indi- 
vidual, and useless to mankind. Their charitable exhortations 
betrayed a secret wish that tiie clergy might be permitted to 
manage the wealth of the fruthful, for the benefit of the po(H'. 
The most sublime representations of the attributes and laws 
of the Deity were sullied by an idle mixture of metaphysical 
subtleties, puerile rites, and fi.ctitious miracles: and they expa- 
tiated, with the most fervent zeal, on the religious merit of 
hating the adversaries, and obeying the ministers of the 
church. When the public peace was distracted by heresy 
and schism, the sacred orators sounded the trumpet of dis- 
cord, and, perhaps, of sedition. The understandings of their 
congregations were perplexed by mystery, their passions were 
inflamed by invectives ; and they rushed from the Christian 
temples of Antioch or Alexandria, prepared either to suflbr or 
to inflict martyrdom. The corruption of taste and language is 
strongly marked in the vehement declamations of the ffttin 
bishops; but the compositions of Gregory and Chrysostom 
have been compared with the most splendid models of Attic, 
or at least of Asiatic, eloquence.*** 

VII. The representatives of the Christian republic were 
regularly assembled in the spring and autumn of each year; 

^'* Queen Elizabeth used this expressioii, and practised this art, 
whenever she wished to prepossess the minds of her people in ftrvor of 
any extraordinary measure of government The hostile efifects of thifl 
tn^tsie were apprehended by her suoe^ssor, and severely felt by his soa 
" When pulpit, drum ecdesiastic,'' Aa See Heyhn's Life of Archbuhop 
Laud, p. 168. 

'** Tnose modest orators acknowledged, that, as they were dostHutc 
Bf the gift of mirflA" ' 3s, they endeayored to acquire the arts of eloquenoa 

Digitized by 



wad these synods diSiised the spirit <^ eode^iastieal ii&cipliiM 
and legislation throngh the bandied and twenty proinoes of 
the Eoman world."* The archbishop or metropolitan was 
erapoweeedy by the l&ws^ to summon the snfi&agan bishops ot 
his province ; to revise their conduct, to vmdicate their nghts, 
to decUre their faith, and to examine the merits of the can« 
didates who were elected by the clergy and people to supply 
the vacancies of the episc(^l cdlege. The primates of 
Barney Aie^ndria, Antioch, Carthage,. ai\d afterwards Con- 
stantinople, who exercised a more ample jurisdiction, convened 
the numeroos assemUy of their depaident bishopa. But the 
coDYocation of great and extraordinary synods was the preroga- 
tive of the emjperor alone. Whenever the emergencies of the 
church required this decisive measure, he despatched a per- 
emptory summons to the bishops, or the deputies of each 
province, with an order for the use of post-horses, and a com- 
petent allowance for the expenses of their journey. At an 
early period, .when Constantino was the protector, rather than 
the proselyte, of Christianity, he referred the AMcan contro- 
versy to the council of Aries; in which the bishops of York, 
of Treves, of Milan, and of Carthage, met as friends and 
brethren, to debate in their native tongue on the common 
interest of the lAtin or Western churdi."* Eleven years 
afterwards, a more numerous and celebrated assembly was 
convened at Nice in Bithynia, to extinguish, by. their final sen- 
tence, the subtle disputes which had arisen in Egypt on the 
subject of the Trinity. Three hundred and eighteen bishops 
obeyed the summons of their indulgent master; the ecclesi- 
astics of every rank, and sect, and denomination, have been 
computed at two thousand and forty-eight persons;"^ the 
Greeks appeared in person ; and the consent of the Latins was 

i>» The cocmeil of Nice, in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh canons, 
has made some fuDdamental regulatioDS ooncemiDg synods, metro- 
politans, and primates. The Nicene canons have been varfvusly tor- 
tured, abused, interpolated, or forged, according to the interest of the 
clergy. The StiburbieariAn churches, assigned (by Rufinus) to the 
bishop of Rome, have been made the subject of vehement controversy 
(See Birmond, Opera, torn. iv. p. 1—288.) 

^** We have only thirty-three or forty-seven episcopal subscrip- 
tkms : but Addo, a writer indeed of small account, reckons six hundred 
bidiops in the council of Aries. TUlemont, Mem. Ecdes. torn, vi 
p. 422. 

»T See Tillemont^ torn. vi. p 916, and Beaoaobre, Hist dn Mum 
dieisme, torn i p 529. The name of bishop, which is given by Ear 

Digitized by 


t94 THS DSCUNS AND FALL [iuD.d26. 

e3q>ressed by tlie legates of the Roman pontifiL The session^ 
which lasted aboat two months, was frequently honored by the 
presence of the emperor. Leaving his guards at the door, he 
seated himself (with the permission of the council) on a low 
stool in the midst of the hall. Gonstantine listened with 
patience, and spoke with modesty : and while h.e influenced 
the debates, he humbly professed that he was the minister, not 
the judge^ of the successors of the apostles, who had been 
established as priests and as gods upon earth."' Such pro- 
ibund reverence of an absolute monarch towards a feeble and 
unarmed assembly of his own subjects, can compared 
to the respect with which the senate had been treated by the 
Koman princes who adopted the policy of Augustus. Within 
the space of fifty years, a philosophic spectator of the vicis^ 
situdes of human afMn might have contemplated Tacitus in 
the senate of Rome, and Gonstantine in the council of Nice. 
The fathers of the Capitol and those of the church had alike 
degenerated from the virtues of their founders ; but as the 
bishops were more deeply rooted in the public opinion, they 
sustained their dignity with more decent pride, and sometimes 
opposed with a manly spirit the wishes of. their sovereign. 
The progress of time and superstition erased the memory of 
the weakness, the passion, the ignorance, which disgraced 
these ecclesiastical synods ; and the Catholic world has unani- 
mously submitted "* to the infallible decrees of the general * 

^chius to the 2048 ecclesiastics, (AnnaL torn. i. p. 440, vers. Pocock,) 
fcinst be extended far beyond the limits of an orthodox or even epis- 
copal ordination. 

r® See Euseb. in Vit Oonstantia L iil a 6^21. Tillemont, Mem. 
'llcclesiasti^ues, torn, vl p. 669 — 759. 

*'• Sancimus igitur vicem legum obtinere, quas a quatuor Sanctis 
Coneiliis .... expoaitse sunt act firmatsB. Prffidictarum enim quat 
nor synodorum dogmata sicut sanictas Scripturas et regulas sicut 
l^^s observamns. Justmian. Novell cxxxi. Beveridge (sA Pandect 
proleg. p. 2) remarks, that the emperors never made new laws in 
ecclesiastical matters; and Giannone observes, in a very diffisrent 
spirit, that they gave a legal sanction to the canons of councils. la- 
toria Oivile di Napoli, tonw i p: 1S6. 

'"* See the article Concilb in the Encyclopedie, torn, iil p 668— 
0^79, edition de Lucques. The author, M. de docteur Bouchatid. has 
discussed, accordinp^ to the principles of the Galilean church, the prin- 
eipal questions which relate to the form and constitution of general* 
national, and provincial councils. The editors (see Preface, p zvl) 
have reason to be proud of Mm article. Those who consult thor iai- 
i compilation. <Mldpm depart so \pell satisfied. 

Digitized by 


iLD>J12.] or THB ROMAN KXPtRI. ttl 





The grateful applause of the clergy has consecrated the 
memory of a prince who indulged their passions and promoted 
their interest. Constantino gave them security, wealth, honors, 
and revenge ; and the support of the orthodox faith was con- 
sidered as the most sacred and important duty of the civil 
magistrate. The edict of Milan, the great charter of tolera- 
tion, had confirmed to each individusJ of the Roman world 
the privilege of choosing and professing his own religion. But 
this inestimable privilege was soon violated ; with the knowl- 
edge of truth, the emperor imbibed the maxims of persecu^^ 
tion ; and the sects which dissented from the Catholic church 
were afl3icted and oppressed by the triumph of Christianity. 
Constantine easily believed that the Heretics, who presumed 
to dispute his opinions, or to oppose his commands, were 
guilty of the most absurd and criminal obstinacy ; and that a 
seasonable application of moderate severities might save those 
unhappy men from the danger of an everlasting condemnation. 
Not a moment was lost in excluding the ministers and teachers 
of the separated congregations from any share of the rewards 
and immunities whidi the emperor had so liberally bestowed 
on the orthodox clergy. But as the sectaries might still exist 
under the cloud of royal disgrace, the conquest of the East 
was immediately followed by an edict which announced their 
total destruction.* After a preamble filled with passion and 
reproach, Constantine absolutely prohibits the assemblies of 
the Heretics, and confiscates their public property to the use 
sither of the revenue or of the Catholic church. The sects 
against whom the Imperial severity was directed, appear to 
have been the adherents of Paul of Samosata ; the Montaoisti 
of Phrygia, who maintained an . enthusiastic sucoessioii of 

^ Eraebius in Vit Conatantia I iii. & 6S, 64, 66, 66. 

Digitized by 


M6 THE DSOUNS Airp FAM* [A. D. 918 

prophecy ; the Novatians, who sternly rejected the tempora] 
efficacy of repentance; the Mardonites and Yalentinians, 
under whose leading banners the various Gnostics of Asia and 
Egypt had insensibly rallied ; and perhaps the Manichajans, who 
had recently imported from Persia a more artful composition 
of Oriental and Christian theology.' The design of extirpating 
the name, or at least of restraining the progress, of these odious 
Heretics, was prosecuted with vigor and ^ect Some of the 
penal regulations were copied from the edicts of Diocletian ; 
and this method of conversion was applauded by the same 
bishops who had felt the hand of oppression, and pleaded foi 
the rights of humanity. Two immaterial circumstances i|iay 
serve, however, to prove that the mind of Oonstantine was not 
entirely corrupted by the spirit ^f zeal and bigotry. Before 
he condemned the Manich8eans and their kindred sects, he 
resolved to make an accurate inquiry into the nature of their 
religious principles. As if he distrusted the impartiality of 
his ecclesiastical counsellors, this delicate commission was 
intrusted to a civil magistrate, whose learning and moderation 
he justly esteemed, and of whose venal character he was 
robably ignorant.* The emperor was soon convinced, that 
e had too hastily proscribed the orthodox faith and the exem- 
plary morals of the Novatians, who had dissented from the 
church in some articles of discipline which were not pcrliaps 
essential to salvation. By a particular edict, he exempte<i 
them from the general penalties of the law;^ allowed them 
to build a church at Constantinople, respected the miracles of 
their saints, invited their bishop Acesius to the council of Nice ; 
and gently ridiculed the narrow tenets qf his sect by a familiar 

' After Bome examination of the various opinions of Tillemont, 
Beausobre, Lardner, &Cy I am convinced that Manes did not propa* 
gate his sect^ even in Persia^ before the year 2'70. It is strange, that a 
philosophic and foi*eign heresy should have penetrated so rapidly into 
the African provinces ; yet I cannot easily reject the edict of biodetian 
against the Manichseans, which may be found in Baronius. (Annal 
EccL A. D. 287.) 

* Constantinus enim, cum limatius superstitionnm qussrerei sactas, 
Manichfflorum et similium, <bc. Ammian. xv. 15. Strategiua^ who 
from this commission obtained the sumune of Musonianus, was a 
Christian of the Arian sect. He acted as one of the counts at the 
coimdl of Sardica. libanius praises his mildness and prudenoa 
Vales, ad locum Ammian. 

^ Go4. Theod. L zvL tit. 6, leg. 2. As the general law is not inieri> 
ed in the Theodosian Code, it probable that, m the year 48S, the s"^ 
which it had condemned were already extinct 


Digitized by 



iest; whicb, from the mouth of a sovereign, most Aare been 
received with applause and gratitude.* 

The complaints and mutual accusations which assailed the 
throne of Oonstantine, as soon as the deaHh of Maxentius had 
submitted Africa to h^ victorious arms, were ill adapted to 
edifj an imperfect proselyte. He learned, with surprise, that the 
provinces of that great country, from the confines of Cyrene to 
the colunms of Hercules, were distracted with religious dis«. 
oord.' The source of the division was derived from a double 
election in the church of Carthage ; the second, in rank and 
opulence, of the ecclesiastical thrones of the Went, Gsedlian 
and Majorinus were the two rival prelates of Africa ; and the 
death of the latter soon made room for Donatus, who, by his 
superior ablMties and apparent virtues, was the firmest support 
of his party. The advantage which Gsecilian might claim 
from the priority of his ordination, was destroyed by the illegal, 
or at least indecent, haste, with which it had been performed, 
without expecting the arrival of the bishops of Numidia. Th^ 
authority of these bishops, who, to the number of seventy, con* 
demned Csedlian, and consecrated Majorinus, is again weak- 
ened by the in&my of sonoe of their penK>nal characters; ano 
by the female intrigues, sacrilegious bargains, and tumultuous 
proceedings, which are imputed to this Numidian council.^ 
The bishops of the contending factkwis maintained, with equal 

' SozomeD, L I c 22. Socratea» Lie 10. These historia&s bave 
been suspected, but I think without reason, of an attachment to the 
Novatian doctrine. The emperor said to the bishop, " Acesius, take 
a bidder, and get up to heayen hj yourself.** Most of the GhristiaD 
sects have, by turns, borrowed the ladder of Aoedua. 

" The best materials for this part of eodlesiastical historj^ may be 
found in the edition of Optatus Milevitanus^ published (Paris, 1700) 
■ by M. Dupin, who has enriched it with critical notes, geographical 
discussions, original records, and an accurate abridgment of uie whole 
oontroyersy. M. de Tillemont has bestowed on ihe I><Miati8ts the 
greatest part of a volume, (torn, ti part l ;) and I am indebted to him 
for an ample collection of aU the passages of his £EiYorite St Augustin, 
which relate te those heretics. 

* Schisma igitur iUo tempore confussB muUeris iracundia peperit; 
amUtos nntrivit; aTaritia roboravit. Optatm, L L a 19. Tlie hm- 
Iroage of Purparius is that of a f urions madman IXcitur te neeasse 
filios sororis tun duos. Purpurius respondit : Putas me terreri a te 
. . occidi ; et ocddo eos qui contra me faciunt Acta Condi. C&ten- 
BIS, ad calc. Optat p. 274. When Cascilian was invited to an assem- 
bly of bishops, Parpnrius said to his larethren, or rather to his aceom- 
I^ioes, ** Let hibn oome hither to receiye our imposition of lunds , and 
we will break his head by way of penance.*' Optat i l c. 111. 

Digitized by 


2116 THE OSCUKB AND FALL [A.D.81fr. 

ardor and obstinacy, tbat their adversaries were degraded, oi 
at least dishonored, by the odious crime of delivering the Holy 
Scriptures to the officers of DiodetiaD. From their mutual 
reproaches, as well as from the story of this dark transaction, 
it may justly be inferred, that the late persecution had imbit- 
tered the zeal, without reforming the manDers, of the African 
Christians. That di\ided church was incapable of affording 
an impartial judioatore ; the controversy was solemnly tried in 
five successive tribunals, which were appointed by the em- 
peror ; and the whole proceeding, from the first appeal to the 
final sentence, lasted above three years. A severe inquisition, 
which was taken by the Praetorian vicar, and the proconsul of 
Africa, the report of two episcopal visitors who h»i been sent 
to Carthage, the decrees of the councils of Home and of Aries, 
and the supreme judgment of Constantine himself in his sacred 
consistory, were all fevoraUe to the cause of Cmcilian ; and 
he was unanimously acknowledged- by the civil and ecclesias- 
tical powers, as the true and lawful primate of Africa. The 
honors and estates of the church were attributed to his suffra- 
gan bishic^, and it was not without difficulty, that Constantine 
was satisfied with inflicting the punishment of exile on the 
principal leaders of the Donatist ^tion. As their cause was 
examined with attention, perhaps it was determined with jus- 
tice. Perhaps their complaint was not without foundation, that 
the credulity of the emperor had been abused by the insidious 
arts of- his fiivorite Osius. The influence of falsehood and 
corruption might procure the condemnation of the innocent, 
or aggravate &e sentence of the guilty. Such an act, how- 
ever, of injustice, if it concluded an importunate dispute, might 
be numbered among the transient evils of a despotic adminis- 
tration, which are neither felt nor remembered by posterity. 

But this incident, so inconsiderable that it scarcely deserves 
a place in history, was productive of a memorable schism 
winch afflicted ^e provinces of Africa above three hundred 
years, and was extinguished only with Christianity itself. The 
inflexible zeal of freedom and fanaticism animated the Dona- 
tists to refuse obedience to the usurpers, whose election they 
disputed, and whose spiritual powers they denied* Excluded 
from the civil and religious communion of mankind, they 
boldly excommunicated the rest of mankind, who had em- 
braced the impious party of Csecilian, and of the TraditoiS| 
from which he derived his pretended ordination. They as* 
«erted with confidence, and almost with exultation, tlnat th4 

Digitized by 



ApoBlolkal 8uc«s888ioii was intemipted; that a/r tlie bMhops 
of Europe and Asia weie- infected by the contagion of guilt 
and schism ; and that the prerogatives of the Catholic churdi 
were confined to the chosen portion of the African believers, 
who ^one had preserved inviolate the integrity of thdr foith 
and discipline. This rigid theoiywas supported by the most 
uncharitable, conduct. Whenever they acquired a proselyte, 
even from the distant piovinoes of ihe East, they carefully 
repeated the sacred rites of b]4>ti9m ' and ordination ; as they 
rejected the validity of those which he had already received 
from the hands of heretics or schismatics. Bishops, virgins, 
and even spotless in£>mts, were subjected to the disgrace of a 
public penance, before they could be admitted to the com- 
aiunion of the Donatists. If they obtained possession of a 
church which had been used by their Catholic adversaries, 
they purified the unhallowed building with the same zealous 
care which a temple of idols might have required. They 
crashed the pavement, scraped the walls, burnt the altar, 
which was commonly of wood, melted the consecrated plate, 
and cast the Holy Eucharist to the dogs, with every circum- 
stance of ignominy which could provoke and perpetuate the 
animosity of reli^ous factions.* Notwithstanding this irrec- 
oncilable aversion, the two parties, who were mixed and sep- 
arated in all the cities of Africa, had the same language and 
manners, the same zeal and learning, the same faith and 
worship.- Proscribed by the civil and ecclesiastical powers of 
the empire, the Donatists still maintained in some provinces, 
particiilarly in Numidia, their superior numbers; and four 
hundred bishops acknowledged the jurisdiction of their pri- 
mate. But the invincible spirit of the sect somelames preyed 
on its own vitals : and the bosom of their schismatical church 
was torn by intestine divisions. A fourth part of the Donatist 
bishops followed the independent standard of the Maximian- 
asts. The narrow and solitary path which their first leaders 
had marked out, continued to deviate .from the great society 

• The oowustls of Aries, of Nice, and of Trent, confirmed the wise 
tnd moderate practice of the church of Rome. The Donatists, how- 
ever, had tiie advantage of maintaimng the sentiment of Cyprian, and 
Df a considerable part of the primitiye chm-ch. Vincentius loriDesis (p. 
532, ap. Tillemont, M6m. Eccles. torn. vL p. 138) has explained why 
the Donatists are eternally burning with the Devil, while St Gypriaxi 

' foa in heaven with Jesus Christ 
8«e the sfxth book of Optatus Milevitanus, p. 9i — 100. 

Digitized by 


too THS SKCUBK AND FALL [111136^ 

of numkind. Even the iii^>ercepiifalA seet of the Rogatiaoa 
could affirm, without a bLuah, that when Ghiist should descend 
to judge the earth, he would find his tme rehgiou preserved 
only in a few nameless villages of the Csesarean Mauritania." 

The schism of the Donatists was confined to Africa: the 
more diffusire mischief of the Trmitanaii controrexsy suc- 
cessively penetrated into every part of the Christian world. 
The Ibrmer was an accidental quarrel, occasioned by the 
abuse of fireedom ; the latter was a high and mysterious argu- 
ment, derived from the abuse of philbeophy. From the agci 
of Constantine to that of Olovis and Theodoric, ihla temporal 
interests both of the Romans and Barbarians were deeply 
involved in the theological disputes of Arianism. The histo- 
rian may therefore be permitted respectfully to withdraw th« 
veil of the sanctuary ; and to deduce the progress of reason 
and &ith, oi eirror and passion, from the school of Plato, to 
the decline and fall of the empire. 

The genius of f^lato, informed by his own meditation, or b^ 
the traditional knowledge of the priests of Egypt," had ven- 
tured to explore the mysterious nature, of the Deity. When 
he had elevated his mind to the sublime contemplatioQ oi the 
first self-existent, necessary cause -of the universe, the Atheni- 
an s^e was incapable of conceiving how the simple unity of 
his essence could admit the infinite variety of distinct and suc- 
cessive ideas which compose the model of the intellectual 
world ; how a Being purely incorporeal could execute that 
perfect model, and mould with a plastic hand the rude and 
independent chaos. The vain hope of extricating himself 
&om these difficulties, which must ever oppress the feeble 
powers of the human mind, might induce Plato to consider the 
divine nature under the threefold modification — of the first 
cause, the reason, or Logos^ and the soul or spirit of the 

^^ TUlemont, M^m. Ecclesiastiques, tooL vi part i p. 263. He 
laughs at their partial credulity. He revered Augustin, the great 
doctor of the system of predestination. 

^^ Plato JSgyptum^ peragravit ut a sacerdotibus Barbaris numeros 
eX coileHia acciperet Cicero de Finibus, v. 25. The Bgyptians might 
still preserve the traditional creed of the Fatdarcfas. JoeephoB hae 
persuaded many of the Christian fathers, that Plato derived a part of 
ois knowledge from the Jews ; but this vain opinion cannot be recoil 
cilcd with the obscure state and imsocial manners of the Jewish peo» 
£ile, whose scriptures were not accessible to Greek curiosity till iuori 
than one hundred years after the death of Plato. See Maraham 
OaDoiL Chron. p. 144 Le Clerc, Epistol Critic, vii. p 1*7*7 — IM. 

Digitized by 


B»C.SdO.] Ol* TBfi fiOMAN SKPIBE. :Ml 

wdyerae. Hia poetieal kn^^giAatian Bom^mes fixiea and aiii" 
mated these metaphysical attractions ; the three archiaU oi 
original principles were represented in thct Platonic system aa 
three Gods, nnited with each other by a mystentoos and ine£^ 
ble generation; and the Logos was particidarly considered 
onder the more acoessibie character of the Son of an Eternal 
Father, and the Creator and Governor of the world. Such 
tppeor to have been tiie secret doctrines which were cau- 
tK>usly whispered in the gardens of the academy ; and which, 
according to the more recent disciples of Plato,* could not be 

" ThU expoaitioiL of the doctrine of Plato appearg to me contrary to the 
trae sense of that phflosopher's writings. The brilliant imagination which 
he carried into metaphysical inquiries^ his style, foil of allegories and fig- 
ures, have misled those mterpreters who did not seek, from the whole tenor 
of his works and beyond the ima^s which the writer employs, the system 
of this philosopher. In my opimon, there is no Trinity m Plato ; he -has 
established no mysterionB generation between the three pretended principles 
which he is made to distingoish. Finally, be conceives onlv as aUrwiUes 
of the Deity, or of matter, those ideas, of which it is sapposed that he made 
$tibstanee8f real beings. 

According to Plato, Qod and matter existed from all eternity. Before the 
creation of the world, matter had in itself a principle of motion, but withr 
out end or laws : it ia. this principle which Plato calls the irrational sool of 
the world, {iXoyos V^>7 ;} because, accordinff to his doctrine, every sponta^ 
neons and original principle of motion is called sool. God wished to im- 
press/orm upon matter, that is to say, 1. To mould matter, and make it into 
a body ; 3. To regiUate ito motion, and sabject it to some end and to certain 
laws. The Deity, in this operation, could not act but according to the ideas 
existing in.hi^ mtelHgence: their union filled this, and formed the ideal 
type of the world. It is this ideal world, this divine intelligence, existing 
with Qod from all eternity, and called by Plato vSvs.or \6yos, wMch he is 
supposed to personify, to substantialize ; while an attentive ex aminatio n is 
sufficient to convince us that he baa never assigned it an existence external 
to the Deity, (hors de la Divinite,) and that he considered the Adyo; a» the 
aggregate of the ideas of God, toe divine understanding in its relation to 
the world. The contrary irrecoDcilable with all his philosophy : 
thus he says (Timieus, p. 348, edit BipO that to the idea of the Deity 
is essential^ united that of inteUigenoe^ of a lof^oi. He would thus have 
admitted a double lo^o$ ; one inhercnt in the Deity as an attribute, the other 
independently exisUng as a subatauce. He affirms. (Timeaus, 316, 337, 
348, Sophista, v. ii. p. 265, 266) that the intelli^^e&ce, the principle of 
order, vdvg or X6yos, cannot exist but aa an attnhute of a soul, O/^it) 
the principle of motion and of life, of which the nature is unknown 
to us. How, then, according to thia, could be consider the logos as a 
substance endowed with an independent existence? In other plabes, 
,he explains it by these two w«rds, intoThfttit (knowledge, science.) and di&voia^ 
(intelhgence,) whidi signify the attributes of the Deity. (Bophist v. iL p. 
209.) Lastly, it ibllows from several passages, among others from Phileb. ▼. 
iv. p. 247, 248, that Plato has never given to the words v8vs, Xdyoj, but one 
vf these two meanings : 1. The remit of the action, of the Deity; that is. 
>rder, the collective laws which govern toe world : and 2. The rational sool 
sf the world, (XoyiarUo xi/vxn,) or the cause of this result, that is to say, the 
divme intelligence. When he separates God, the ideal archetype of the 
^yorld and matter, it is Ui explain how, according to bis system, God hai 
yraiceeded. at the creation, to unite the principle of order which he hid 

Digitized by 


802 TH& DSOLINS AND FALL [6.0.800, 

perfeetiy- understood, till after an iassfdnons stady of thirtr 

The arms of the Macedonians diffused over Asia and Egypt 
the language and learning of Greece ; and the theological sys 
tern of Rato was taught^ mih. less reserve, and perhaps with 
some improvements, in the celebrated school of Alexandria." 

^3 The modern guides who lead me to the knowledge of the Pl*> 
tonic system are Cudworth, (Intellectual System, p» 568 — 620,) Bas^ 
nage, (Hist, des Juifs, L iv. c. 4, p. 53 — 86,) Le Clerc, (Epist Crit vii. 
p. 194 — 209,) and Brucker, (Hist Philqsoph. torn. i. p. 6'78--706.) As 
the learning of these writers was equal, and Hieir intention different, an 
inquisitive observer may derive instruction from their disputes, and 
certainty from their agreement 

" Brucker, Hist. Philosoph. torn. I p. 1349 — 1367. The Alexan- 
drian school is celebrated by Strabo (L xvii.) and Ammianue, (xxii. 

within himself, his proper inteOi^enoe, the \6yosi the principle of motion, to 
the principle of motion, the irrational soiil, the ikoyoi tf/^x^f whidi was in 
matter. When he speaks of the place occupied by the idea! world, {r&iroi 
yonrdiy) it is to desi^ate the ctivine intelligence, wlueh is its cause. Finally, 
in no part of his writings do we find a true personification of the pretended 
beings of which he is said to have formed a trinity: and if this personifica- 
tioB existed, it would equally apply to many other notions, of which might 
be formed many different trinities. 

This error, into which many ancient as well as modem interpreters ot 
Plato have fallen, was verv natural. Besides the snares which were con- 
cealed in his figurative style ; besides the necessity of comprehending as a 
whole the system of his ideas, and not to explain isolated jMiss&^pes, the 
nature of his doctrii^ itself would conduce to this error. When. Plato 
appeared, the uncertainty of human knowled^, and the continual illusions 
of the senses, were acknowledged, and had given rise to a general scepti- 
cism. Socrates had aimed at raising morality above the influence of this 
scepticism : Plato end^ivored to save metaphysies, by seeking in the 
human intellect a source of certain^ which the senses could not finmish. 
He invented the system of innate ideas, of which the ag^egate formed, 
according to him, me ideal world, and affirmed that these ideas were real 
attributes, not only attached to our conceptions ef objects, but to the 
nature of the objects themselvtes ; a namre of which from them we might 
obtain a knowledge. He gave, then, to these ideas a positive existence as 
attributes ; his commentators could easily give them a real existence as 
mbstances; especially as the terms which he used to designate them, 
Hvro TO K&Xov, ivro rd iyado^f essential beauty, essential goodness, lent them- 
selves to this substantialization, (hypostasis.)--G. 

We have retained this view of the original philosophy of Plato, in which 
there is probably much truth. The genius of Plato was rather metaphysical 
than impersonative: his poetry was in his language, rather than, like that of 
the Orientals, in his conceptions. — M. 

* The phik)sophy of Plato was not the only source of that professed is 
iie school of Alexandria. That city, in which Greek, Jewish, aaad Eg;yp- 
iian men of letters were assembled, was the ncene of a strange fusion of the 
lystem of these three people. The Greeks brought a Platonism, already 
mnch changed; the Jews, who had accpiired at Babylon a great numbor 
•f Oriental notions, and whose theological opinions had undergone greak' 
dkauffes by this intercourse, endeavored to reconcile Platonism with theb 

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A. xnmrerdujf colony of Jews had been invited, by the favor of 
the Ptolemies, to settle in their new capital.^^ While the bulk 
of the naition practised the legal ceremonies, and pursued the 
lucratiYO occupations of commerce, b few Hebrews, of a more 
Uberal spirit, devoted their tives to religiooB and philosophical 
contemplation*^* They cultivated with diligence, and em- 
braced with ardor, the theological system of the Athenian 
sage. But their national pride would have been mortified by 

U Joseph. Antiquitat L xii. c. 1, 8. Basnage, Hist des Jvah, L rti. 

c. 7. • 

^* For the origin of Ihe Jewish philosophy, see Eusebios, Prieparat 
£vangel. viii. 9, 10. Accordiog to Philo, the Therapeutas studied 
philosophy ; aftd prucker has proved (Hist. Philosoph. torn, il p. 1S*1) 
that they gave the preference to tha/t o( F^to. 

new doctrine, and dis%ared it entirelj : lastly, the Egyptiaiw, who vren 
not willing to abandon notions for which the Greeks themselves enter- 
tained respect, endeavored on their side to reconqile their t>wn with those 
of their neighbors. It is in Eodesiasticas and the Wisdom of Solomon 
that we trace the inflaence of Oriental philosophy rather than that of 
Platonism. We find in these books, and in those of the later prophets, as 
in Bzekiel, notions unknown to the Jews before the Babylonian captivity, 
of which we do not discover the g«rm in Plato, bnt which are manifestly 
derived from the Orientals. Thus God represented under the image of light, 
and the principle of evil nnder that of darkness; the history of the good and 
bad angels ; paradise and hell, &c., are doctrines of which the origin, or at 
least the positive determination, can only be referred to the Oriental philos- 
ophy. Plato sapposed matter eternal ; the Orientals and the Jews consid- 
ered it as a creation of God, who alone was eternal. It is impossible to ex' 
Slain the philosophy of the Alexandrian school solely by the blending of the 
ewish theology with the Greek philosoi>hy. The Oriental philosophy, 
however little it may be known, is recognised at every instant Thus, ac- 
cording to the Zend Avesta, it is by the Word (honover) more ancient than 
the world, that Ormuzd created the universe. This word is the logos of 
Philo, cbnsequentljT very different from that of Plato. I have shown that 
Plato never personified the logos as the ideal archetype of the worid : Philo 
ventured this- persomficatioii. The Deity, according to him, has a double 
k>gos ; the first (Xdyos eitStiBtTos) is the ideal archetype of the world, the 
ideal world, the jirtt-bom of the Deity ; the second (Xtfyos jr^o^d^iifaf) ig the 
word itself of God, personified under the image of a being acting to create 
the sensible world, and to make it like to the ideal world : it is uie second- 
bom of God. Following out his imaginations, Philo went so far as to per- 
sonify anew^ the ideal world, under the image of a celestial man, (di^paviot 
&»fputwos,) the primitive type of man, and the sensible world under the inu^ 
of sQEiother man less perfect than the celestial man. Certain notions of the 
Oriental philoso]>hy may have given rise to this strange abuse of allegoiy. 
which it IS sufficient to relate, to show what alterations Platonism had already 
andergone, and what was their source. Philo, moreover, of all the Jews of 
Alexandria, is the one whoso Platonism is the most pure. jSee Buhle, Introd 
to Hist, of Mod. Philosophy. Michaelis, Introd. to N'e^^ Test, m German 
uart ii. p. 973.) It is from this mixture of Orientalism, Platonism, and Jud^ 
ism. that Gnosticism arose, which had produced so many theological an-d 
pbiioBopbical extravagaheien. and in wliich Oriental notions evidently pfnv. 

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a fidr confeasiou of liieir former poverty : and thej boldly 
marked, as the sacred inheritance of their ancestors, the gold 
and jewels which they had so lately stolen from their Egyptian 
masters. One hundred years before the birth of Christ, a 
philosophical treatise, which manifestly betrays the style and 
sentiments of the school of Plato^ was produced by the Al6z« 
andrian Jews, and unanimously received as a genuine and 
valuable relic of the inspired Wisdom of Solomon." A simi- 
lar union of the Mosaic faith and the Grecian philosophy^ 
distinguishes the woi'ks of Philo, which were composed, for 
the most part, under the reign of Augustus." The material 
soul of the universe *• might offend the piety of the Hebrews : 
but they applied the character of the Looos to the Jehovah of 
Moses and the patriarchs ; and the Son of God was introduced 
upon earth under a visible, and even human appearance, to 
perform those fiimiliar offices which seem incompatible with 
the nature and attributes of the Universal Cause." 

The eloquence of Pkto, the name of Solomon, the authority 

^* See Oalmet» Dissertations sur la Bible, torn, il p. 277. The book 
of the Wisdom of Solomon was received by many oi the fathers as the 
work of that monarch; and although rejected by the Protestants for 
want of a Hebrew original, it has obtained, with the rest of the Yul- 
gate, the sanction of the council of Trent 

" The Platonism of Philo, which was famous to a proverb, is proved 
beyond a doubt by Le Clerc, rBpisi Grit viii p. 211^228.) Basnage 
(Hist des Jui£s, 1. iv. c 6) has clearly ascertained, that the theo- 
logical works of Philo were composed before the death, and most 
probably before the birth, of Christ. In such a time of darkness, the 
knowledge of Philo is more astonishing than his errors. Bull, Defens. 
Fid. Nicen. s. i. ci p. 12. 

^B Mens agitat molem, et magno se corpore tmtoet. 

Besides tms material soul, Oudwortfa has discovered (p. 562) in 
Amelius, Porphyry, Plotinus, and, as he thinks, in Plato himself^ a 
superior, spiritual upereo9mian soul of the universe. But this double 
soul is exploded by Brucker, Basnage, and Le Clcrc, as an idle fkncy 
of the latter Platonists. 

^' Petav. Dogmata Theologica, torn, il L viiL c 2, pi 791. Bull, 
Defens. Fid Nicen. s. i. c L p. 8, 18. This notion, till it waa abused 
by the Arians, was*freely adopted in the Christian theology. Tertul- 
lian (adv. Prazeam, c. 16^ has a remarkable and dangerous passage. 
After contrasting, with mdiscreet wit, the nature of God, and l^e 
actions of Jehovah, he concludes: Scilicet ut hsec de filio Dei non 
crcdenda fuisse, si non scripta essent ; fortasse non credenda de Patre 
licet scripta.* 

* Tertallian is here arguing against the Patripassians ; thoae who 
tkat the Father was bom of the Vir^n. died and was buried.— If. 

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A.D. 97.] ujr ths boman xmpiak. M# 

ci tbe sebool of Alexandria, and die oonsent oi Um Jews and 
Greeks, were insufficient tx> establish the tru^ of a mjsteriona 
doctrine, which m^ht pleas^ but could not satisfy, a rational 
mind. A piophet, or apostle, inspired hy the Deity, can alone 
exe r cise a lawful dominion over the faith of nmkind : and 
the theology of Plato might have been forever confounded 
with the pyiosophical visions of the Academy, the Porch, and 
the Lycnum, if the name and divine attributes of the Zogot 
had not been confirmed by the celestial pen of the last and 
most sublime of the Evangelists.'^ The Christian Bevelation, 

** The Phttonis^ admired the beginning of the Gospel of St Johr 
as.oontainipg an exact transcript of their own principles. Augustin 
de Civitat Dei, x. 29. Amelius apud CyriL aovers. Juliaa 1. viii. p 
28S. Bot in the third and fourth centuries, the Flatonists of Alex~ 
andria might improve their Trinity by the secret study of the Ohris- 
tian theology.* « 

* A short di sc ussi o n on the sense in which St John has used the wor</ 
Logos, will prove that he has not borrowed it from the philosophy of Plato 
The evangehet adopts this word without previous explanation, as a term 
-with whioi his contemporaries were already familiar, and which they could 
aft once comprehend. To know the sense which he gave to it, we must 
inquire that which it generally bore in his time. We find two : the one 
attached to the word logo$ by the Jews of Palestine, the other by the school 
of Alexandria, particularly by Phib. The Jews had feared at all times tc 
pronoance the name of Jehovah ; they had formed a habit of designating 
Qod bv one of his attributes ; they called him sometimes Wisdom, some- 
times the Word. B^ the word of the Lord were the heavent made, (Psalm 
xxxiii. 6.) Aooustomed to allegories, they often addressed themselves to 
this attribute of the Deity as a real being. Solomon makes Wisdom say, 
'' The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his wa^, before his works of 
old. 1 was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the eartb 
was." (Prov. viu. 22, 23.) Their residence in Persia omy increased this in- 
clination to sustained allegories. In the Ecclesiasticus of the son of Sirach. 
and the Book of Wisdom, we find allegorical descriptions of Wisdom like 
the ibllowing : " I came out of the mouth of the Most High ; I covered the 
earth as a clood ; . . . I alone compassed the circuit of heaven, and walked 
in the bottom of the deep . . . The Creator created me fi-om th^ beginning, 
before the world, and I shall never fail." (Eccles. xxiv. 35--39.J See also 
the Wisdom of Solomon, c. vii. v. 9. [The latter book is clearly Alexan- 
drian. — M.] We see from this that the Jews understood from the Hebrew 
and Ghaldaio words which signify Wisdom, the Word, and which were 
mmfllated into Chieek by co^la, X6yos, a simple attribute of the Deity, alle^for- 
Ically personified, but of whidi they did not make a real particular bemg 
separate firom the Deity. 

The school oi Alexandria, on the contrary, and Philo among the rest, 
mingling Greek with Jewish and Oriental notions, and abandoning himself 
to his inclination to mysticism, personified the logos, and represented it 
(see note, p. 307) as a distinct being, created by God, and intermediate be- 
tween Qm. and man. This is the second logos of Philo, (X^yot npofdptKos,) 
that which acts from the beginning of the world, alone m its kind, {jftovo 
fiimst) oivator of the sensible world, {KSaftog acVOijrdj,) formed by God ac- 
oordfaig to the ideal world {Kdafios v6riroi) which he had in himself; an4 

Digitized by 



whicli was eonfiummated under the reigo of Nerva, diadoseo 
to the world the amaziiig secret, that the Looos, who was wiib 
God from the beginning, and was God, who had made all 
things, and for whom all thii^ had been made, was incarnate 
in the penson of Jesus of Nazareth ; who had been bom of a 
virgin, and suffered death on the cross. Besides the general 
design of fixing on a perpetual basis the divine honors of 
Christ, the most ancient and respectable of the ecclesiastical 
writers have ascribed to the evangelic theologian a particular 
iDtention to confute two opposite heresies, which disturbed the 

wluch was the fint logoe, (& dy6>rdra>,) the first-boni (6 nptcrffvrcpos vlof) of the 
I)eity. The logos taken in this sense, then, was a created being, but, ante- 
rior to the creation of ihe world, near to God, and charged with his reveta- 
tions to mankind. 

Which of these two senses is that which St John intended to assign to the 
word logos in the first chapter of his Gtospel, and in all his writings? 

St John was a Jew, bom and educated in Palestine; he bad no knowl- 
edge, at least very little, of the philosophy of the Greeks, and that of the 
Ck^cizing Jews : he would naturally, tnen, attach to the word logos the 
sense attached to it by the Jews of Palestine. If, in fact, we compare the 
attributes which he assies to the logos with those which are assigned to it 
in Proverbs, in the Wisdom of Solomon, in Ecdesiasticas, we shall see 
that they are the same. The Word was in the world, and the world was 
made by him ; in him was life, and the life was the fight of men, (c. i ▼. 
10—14.) It is impossible not to trace in this chapter the ideas which the 
Jews had formed of the allegorized logos. The evangelist afterwards 
really personifies that which his predecessors have personified only poet- 
ically ; for he affirms " that the Word became jfiesh," (v. 14.) - It was to 
prove this ^at he wrote. Closely examined, the ideas which he gives of 
uie logos cannot agree with those of Philo and the school of Alexandria; 
they correspond, on the contrary, with those of the Jews of Palestine. 
Perhaps St John, employing a well-known term to explain a doctrine 
which was yet unknown, has slightly altered the sense ; it is this alteration 
which we appear to discover on comparing different passages of his wri- 

It is worthy of remark, that the Jews of Palestine, who did not perceive 
this alferation, could find nothing extraordinary in what St John said of 
the Logos ; at least they comprehended it without difficulty, while the 
Greeks and Grecizing Jews, on their part, brought to it prajudices and 
preconceptions easily reconciled with those of the evangelist, who did not 
expressly contradict them. This circumstance must have much favored 
the progress of Christianity. Thus the fathers of the church in the two 
first centuries and later, formed almost all in the school of Alexandria, 
gave to the Logos of St John a sense nearly similar to that which it 
received from Plolo. Their doctrine approached very near to that which 
in the fourth century the council of Nice condemned in the person of . 

M. Gnizot has forgotten the long residence of St John at Ephesos, (he 
centre of the mingling opinions of the East and West, which were gradnally 
growing up into Gnosticism. (See Matter. Hist du Gnostidsme, voL i p. 
154.) St John's sense of the Logos seems as far removed from the nmiue 
allegory ascribed to the Palestinian Jews as from tlie Oriental impenmiatirfii 
of t£e Alexandrian. The simi>le truth may be, that St John took the finniliar 
term, and, as it were, infused into it the peculiar and Christian sense in wUek 
It is used in his writings.— M. 

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peace of the primitive church.*' I. The faith of the Ebion- 
ites,** perhaps of the Nazarenes " was gross and imperfect 
They revered Jesus as the greatest of the prophets, endowed 
with svpematural virtue and power. They ascribed to his 
person and to his future reign all the predictions of the 
Hebrew oracles which relate to the spiritual and everlasting 
kingdom of the promised Messiah.*^ Some of them might 
confess that he was bom of a virgin; but they obstinately 
rejected the preceding existence and divine perfections of the 
LogoSy or Son of God, which are so clearly defined in the 
Gospel of St John. About fifty years afterwards, the Ebion- 
ites, whose errors are mentioned by Justin Martyr with less 
severity than they seem to deserve,^* formed a very inconsid- 
erable portion of the Christian name. 11. The Gnostics, who 
were distinguished by the epithet of Docetes, deviated into 
the contrary extreme ; and betrayed the human, while they 
asserted the divine, nature of Christ Educated in the school 
of Plato, accustomed to the sublime idea of the Logos, they 
readily conceived that the brightest ^on, or JSmanation of the 
Deity, might assume the outward shape and visible appear- 
ances of a mortal;'" but they vainly pretended, that the 
imperfections of matter are incompatible with the purity of a 

** See Beausobre, Hist Critique du Manicheisme, torn. I p. 377. 
The Gospel according to St John is supposed to have been published 
s.bout seventy years after the death of Cnrist 

'^ The sentiments of the Ebionites are fairly stated by Mosheim (p. 
831) and Le Clerc, (Hist Eocles. p. 585.) The Clementines, pub- 
Ushed among the apostolical &thcrs, are attributed by the critics to 
dne of these sectaries. 

'• Stanch polemics, like a Bull, (Judicium Eccles. CathoL c 2,) 
insist on the orthodoxy of tlie Nazarenes ; which appears less pure 
and certain in the eyes of Mosheim, (p. 830.) 

^ The humble condition and sufferings of Jesus have always been 
a stumhAing-block to the Jews. "Deus . . . oontrariis coloribus 
Messiam depinxerat ; - futurus erat Rex, Judex, Pastor," <&c. See 
Limborch et Orobio Amica Collat p. 8, 19, 63— *76, 192 — 234. But 
this objection has obliged the believing Christians to lift up their eyes 
. to a spiiltual and everlasting kingdom. 

2* Justin Martyr, Dialog, cum Tryphonte, p. 148, 144. See Le Clerc, 
Hist Ecdes. p. 616. Bull and his editor Qrabe (Judicium Ecclea 
CathoL e. 7, and Appendix) attempt to distort either the sentiments or 
the words of Justin ; but their violent correction of the text is rejected 
even by the Benedictine editors. 

** lie Arians reproached the orthodox paity with borrowing theii 
rHnity from ihe Yalentinians and Marcionites. See Beausobre, Hist 
dn Manidieisme, 1 iil c. 6, 7. 

Digitized by 


900 rHB DEOUNB :AND FAIX [A« D. 99 

celestial bubetanoe. While the blood of Ohrist yet soooked on 
Mount Calvary, the Dooetes invented the impioiis and extrava- 
gant hypothesis, that, instead of issuing from the womb of the 
Virgin,*^ be had descended on the ba^.of the Jofdan in the 
form of perfect manhood ; that he had imposed on the senses 
of his enemies^ and of his disciples ; and that the ministere of 
Pilate had wasted their impotent rage on an airy phantom, 
vho seemed to expire on the cross, and, after three days« to 
4se from the dead. 

*'' l^on dignum est ez iitero credere Deum, et Demn Christum 
. . . . noQ dignom est ut tanta majeetas per eordes et sqiialores mull 
eris transire credatur. The Gnostica asserted the impurity of matter^ 
and of marriage; and they were scandalized by the gross interpreta* 
tions of the fathers, and eyen of Augustin himsell See Beausobre, 
torn, ii: p. 523* 

^* Apostolis adhuc m sseculo superstitibus apud Jud»am Ohristf 
sanguine recente, et pkantasma corpus Domini asserebatur. Ootelerius 
thiiSra (Patres ApostoL tom. il p. 24) that those who will not allow 
the Docetet to have arisen in the time of the Apostles, may with equal 
reason deny that the sun shines at noonday. These Voeetes, who 
formed the most considerable party among the Gnostics, were sit 
called, because they granted only a seeming body to Ohristf 

* The greater part of the DocetiB rejected the true divinity of Jesei 
Christ, as well as his humaa nature. Tfae^ belonged to the Gnostics, 
whom some philosophers, in whose party Gibbon has enlisted, make ti 
derive their opinions from those of Plato. These philosophers did not 
consider that Platonism had undergone continual alterations, and that 
those who ^ve it some analogy with the notions of the Gnostics wevs latei 
in their origin than most of the sects comprehended under this nama 
Mosheim has proved (in his Instit Histor. Eccles. Major, s. i. p. 136, sqq. 
and p. 339, sqq.) that the Oriental ]ahilosophy, combined with the cab 
alistical philosophy of the Jews, had ^ven biim to Gnosticism. The rela* 
tions which exist between this doctrine and the records which remain tQ 
us of that of the Orientals, the Chaldean and Persian, have been the 
source of the errors of the Gnostic Christians, who wished to reconcile 
their ancient notions with their new belief It is on this account that, 
denying the human nature of Christ, they also denied his intimate union 
with God, and took him for one of the substances (saons) created by God. 
As they believed in the eternity of matter, and considered it to be the 
principle of evil, in opposition to the Deity, the first cause and principle 
of good, they were unwitting to admit that one of the pure substances, one 
of the aeons which came forth from God, had, by partaking in the matsrial. 
nature, allied himself to the principle of evil ; and this was their motive for 
rejecting the real humanity of Jesus Christ See Ch. G. F. Walcb, 
Hist, of Heresies in Germ. t. i. p. 217, sqq. Brucker, Hist Crit. Phil ii. p 
639.— G. 

t The name of DocetSB was given to these sectaries only in the course 
of the second century : this name did not designate a sect properly m 
called ; it applied to all the sects who taught the non-reality of the mate- 
rial 1)ody of Christ; of this number were the ValentiniaDs, the BaailiiB 
•US, the Ophites, the Marcionites, (against whom Tcrtullian wrote hii 

Digitized by 


A.Dk97.] OP THl ROMiN BUFUa* 90§ 

The divine Banction, whidi the Apostle had bestowed on 
the funduiteiital pnneiple of the theol^ of Plato, encoiuraged 
the learned profieljtes of the second and third centuries to 
admire and study the vritings of the Athenian sage, who had 
thvs marveilotisly anticipated one of the most surprising dis- 
ooveries of the Christian revelation. The respectable name 
of Plato was used by the orthodox,"* and abused by the here- 
tics,'** as the common support of truth and error : the author- 
ity of his skilful commentators, and the science of dialectics, 
were employed to justify the remote omsequences of his opin- 
ions and to supply the discreet silence of the inspired writers. 
The same subtle and profound questions concerning the nature, 
the generation, the distinction, and the equality of the thrto 
divine persons of the mysterious Tri€ui, or Trinity*^ were 
agitated in the philosophical and in the Christian schools of 
Alexandria. An eager spirit of curiosity urged them to 
explore the secrets of the abyss ; and the pride of the prtfes- 

^' Some proofe of the respect which the Christians entertained for 
the person and doctrine of Plato may be foimd in De la Mothe le 
Vayer, tom. v. p. 135, Ac, edit. 1767 ; and Basnage, Hist des Juifs 
torn. iv. p, 29, 79, Ac. 

*'* Doieo bona fide, Platonem omnium haneticoram condimentarium 
factum. Tertulliaa de Anima, c. 23. JE^tayius (Dogm. Theolog. 
touL iiL prolog. 2) shows that this was a s'eneral comphunt. Beauso- 
bre (tom. i 1. iii. c. 9, 10) has deduced the Gnostic errors from 
Platonic prindples ; and as, in the school of Alexandria, those prin- 
ciples were blended with the Oriental philosophy, (Bruc^er, tom. L 
p. 1356,) the sentiment of Beauaobre may be reconciled with the 
opinion of Mosheim, (General History of the Churdi, yoL l p^ 37.) 

■' If Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, (see Dupin, Biblioth&que Eo- 
clesiastique, tom. I p. 66,) was the first who emplojred the word Triad, 
Trinitv, that abstract term, which was already fiuhiliar to the schools 
of ^iloeophy, must have been introduced mto the theology of tiie 
Christians after the -middle of the' second century. 

book, I)e Came Christi,) and other Gnostics. In truth, Clement of Alexan- 
dria (L iii. Strom, c. 13, p. 552) makes express mention of a sect of Docetss, 
and even names as one of its heads a certain Cassiantis ; bat every thing 
leads us to believe that it was not a distinct sect. Philastrias (de Haeres, c. 
31) repfroaches Ssmminns with bemg a Docete. Ifenssus (adv. Hser. c. 23) 
makes the same reproach against Basilides. Epiphanins and Philastrias, 
who have treated in detail on each particalar heresy, do not specially name 
that of the BocetsB. Serapion, bishop of Antioch, (Easeb. Hist. Eccles. 1. 
^i. c. 12,) and Clement of Alexandria, (L vji. Strom, p. 900,) appear to be the 
first who have used the generic name. It is not found in any earlier record, 
though the error which it points out existed even in the time-«f the Apoal 
lies. See Ch. G. P. Walch, Hist, of Her. v. i. p. 283. Tillemont, M^ 
•our scrvir a la Hist. Eccles. ii p. 50. Buddnus de Eccles. Apost. c. 5, J 7 

Digitized by 


910 nn DSCLiNB and fall f A. IK ^T 

«on, and of their diacipleB, was satisfied mth the scicnos of 
woids. But the most sagaciom of the CSiriBtiati Hheolognxoa, 
the great Athanasius himself^ has candidly confessed,^ that 
whenever he forced his understanding to meditate on the 
divinity of the Loffoa^ his toilsome and unavailing efforts 
recoiled on themselves ; that the more he thought, the less he 
comprehended ; and the more he wrote, the less capable was 
he of expressing his thoughts. In every step of the inquirj, 
we are compelled to feel and acknowledge the immeasurable 
disproportion between the size of the object and the capadty 
of the human mind. We may s^ve to abstract the notions 
of time, of space, and of matter, which so closely adlieie to 
all the perceptions of our experimental knowledge. But as 
socn as we presume to reason of infinite substance, of spirit- 
ual generation; as often as we deduce any positive conclu- 
sions from a negative idea, we are involved in darkness, per- 
pleilty, and inevitable contradiction. As these difficulties 
arise from the nature of the subject, they oppress, with thr 
same insuperable weight, the philosophic and the theological 
disputant; but we may observe two essential and peculiar 
circumstances, which discriminated the doctrines of the Catho- 
lic church firom the opyiions of the Platonic school 

I. A chosen society of philosophers, men of a liberal educa* 
tion and curious disposition, might silently meditate, and tem- 
perately discuss in the gardens of Athens or the library of 
Alexandria, the abstruse questions of metaphysical science. 
The lofty speculations, which neither convinced the under- 
standing, nor agitated the passions, of the Platonists them* 
selves, were carelessly overlooked by the idle, the busy, and 
even the studious part of mankind." But after the Los^os bad 
been revealed as the sacred object of the £euth, the hope, and 
the religious worship of the Christians, the mysterious system 
was embraced by a numerous and increasing multitude in eveiy 
province of the Koman world. Those persons who, firom their 
age, or sex, or occupations, were the least qualified to judge, 

'* Athanasius, torn. i. p. 808. His ezpressiona have an uncommon 
^crg^y ; and as he was writing to monks, there coiild not be any 
occasion for him to affect a rational language. 

" In a treatise, which professed to explain tiie opinions of the 
ancient philosophers concerniq^ the nature of the gcxls, we might 
expect to discover the theological Trinity of Plato. But Cicero verv 
honestly confessed, that although he had translates] the Timsns, ho 
could never understand that mysterious dialogue. See HieroDvmt 
(ifwf. ad i. xii. in Isaiam, torn. v. p. 154. 

Digitized by 


A.D. 07.] UF THB R0MA3r EMPIJtX. 811 

who were the least exercised in the habits of abstract rear 
floning, aspired to contemplate the economy of the Divine 
Nature : and it is the boast of TertuUian/* that a Christian 
mechanic could readily answer such questions as had per- 
plexed the wisest of the Grecian sages. Where the subject 
lies so &r beyond our reach, the difference between the high- 
est and the lowest of human understandings may indeed be 
calculated as infinitely small; yet the degree of weakness 
may perhaps be measured by the degree of obstinacy and 
dogmatic confidence. These speculations, instead of being 
treated as the amusement of a vacant hour, became the most 
serious business of the present, and the most useful prepara- 
tion for a future, life. A theology, which it was incumbent 
to believe, which it was impious to doubt^ and which it might 
be dangerous, and even fiital, to mistake, became the familiar 
topic of private meditation and popular disdourse. The cold 
indiiference of philosophy was inflamed by the fervent spirit 
of devotion ; and even the metaphors of conunon language 
suggested the fallacious prejudices of sense and experience. 
The Christians, who abhorred the gross and impure generation 
of the Greek mytholog}',"* were tempted to argiie firom the 
familiar analogy of the filial and paternal relations. The 
character of Son seemed to imply a perpetual subordination 
to the voluntary author of his existence ;'" but as the act of 
generation, in the most spiritual and abstiacted sense, must be 
supposed to transmit the properties of a common nature,'* 
they durst not presume to circumscribe the powers or the 
duration of the Son of an eternal and omnipotent Father. 
Fourscore years after the death of Christ, the Christians of 

** Tertullian. in Apolog. c. 46. See Bayle, Dictionnaire, au mot 
Simonide. His remarks on the presumption of Tertullian are profoond 
and interesting. 

** Lactantius, iv. 8. Yet the Probote, or . Prolatioy which the most 
orthodox divines borrowed without scruple from the Valentinians, and 
illustrated by the comparisons of a fountain and stream, the sun and 
its rays, Ac., either meant nothing, or favored a material idea of the 
divine generation. See Beausobre, torn. i. 1. iil c. 7, p. 548. 

'• Many of the primitive writers have frankly confessed, that the 
Son owea his being to the will of the Father. See Clarke's Scripture 
Trinity, p. 280 — 287. On the oUier hand, Athanasius and his follow- 
ers seem unwilling to grant what they are afraid to deny. ^ The 
sdioolmen extricate themselves from this diflBculty by the distinction of 
u preceding and a concomitant will. Petav. Dogm. Theolog. torn, il I 
ri c 8, ik'58'7 — 603. 

*^ See Petav. I>ogm. Theoiog. torn. ii. 1. ii. c If , p 169. 

Digitized by 


01t rax DECUXB and fall \A.D.97< 

BithyiiiH, deday&a before the tribanal of Pliny, that tiiej 
invoked him as a god: and his divine honors have been 
perpetuated in every age and country, by the varioEus sects 
who ftssume the name of his disciples.'* Their tender reve^ 
ence for the memory of Christ, and their horror for the pro- 
line worship of any created being, would have engaged them 
to assert ihe equal and absolute divinity of the Logos^ if their 
rapid ascent towards the throne of heaven had not been imper- 
ceptibly checked by the apprehension of violating the unity 
and sole supremacy of the great Father of Christ and of the 
Universe. The suspense and fluctuation produced in the minds 
ci the Christians by these opposite tendencies, may be observed 
in the writings of the theologians who flounshed after the end 
of the apostolic age, and before the origin of the Arian contro- 
versy. Their suffirage is claimed, wi& equal confidence, by 
the orthodox and by the heretical parties ; and the most inquis- 
itive critics have fairly allowed, that if they had the good fo^ 
. tune of possessing the CathoUc verity, they have delivered their 
conceptions in loose, inaccurate, and sometimes contradictory 
If) . IL The devotion of individuals was the first circumstance 
which distinguished the Christians from the Platonists: the 
second was the authority of the church. The disciples of 
philosophy asserted the rights of intellectual fireedom, and 
their respect for the sentiments of their teachers was a liberal 
and voluntary tribute, which they offered to superior reason. 
But the Christians formed a numerous and disciplined society ; 
and the jurisdiction of their laws and ma^stratea was strictly 
exercised over the minds of the faithful. The loose wander- 
ings of the imagination were gradually confined by creeds and 

'" Carmenque Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem. Plin. Epist 
X. 97. The sense of JDetiSj Qcdsy Elohim, in the ancient languages, is criti- 
cally examined by Le Clerc, (Ars Critica, p. 150 — 16 6,) and the propri- 
ety of worshipping a very excellent creature is ably defended by the 
Socinian Emlyn, (Tracts, p. 29 — 86, 61—145.) 

*• See DaiUe de Usu Patrum, and Le Clerc, Bibliotheque TJniver 
selle, torn. z. p. 409. To arraign the faith of the Ante-Nioene 
fathers, was the object, or at least has been the efiPect, of the stupen- 
dous work of Petavius on the Trinity, (Dogm. Theolog. torn, il ;) nor 
has the deep impression been erased by tlie learned deduce of Bishop 

* Dr. Barton's work on the doctrine of the Antc-Nicene iatbera muit fer 
Qonscdted by those who wish tr> obtain clear notions on this subject— M. 

Digitized by 


A.D.97J OJ* TUB ROMAN £MPIR£. 818 

oonfefisioiis ; ^* the freedom of private judgment submitted to 
the public wisdom of synods ; the authority of a theologian 
was determiued by his ecclesiastical rank ; and the episcopal 
successors of the apostles inflicted the censures of the church 
on those who deviated from the orthodox belief. But in an 
age of religious controversy, every act of oppression adds new 
force to the elastic vigor of the mind ; and the zeal or obst^ 
nacy of a spiritual rebel was sometimes stimulated by secrel 
motives of ambition or avarice. A metaphysical argument 
became the cause or pretence of political contests ; the subtle- 
ties of the Platonic school were used as the badges of popular 
factions, and the distance which separated their respective 
tenets were enlarged or magnified by the acrimony of dispute. 
As long as the dark heresies of Praxeas and Sabellius labored 
to confound the Father with the Son^^^ the orthodox party 
might be excused if they adhered more strictly and more 
earnestly to the distinction, than to the equaliiy, of the divine 
pensons. But as soon as the heat of controversy had subsided, 
and the progress of the Sabellians was no longer an object of 
terror to the churches of Rome, of Africa, or of Egypt, th* 
tide of theological opinion began to flow with a gentle but 
steady motion towards the contrary extreme ; and the most 
orthodox doctors allowed themselves the use of the terms and 
definitions which had been censured in the mouth of the sec- 
taries.*' After the edict of toleration had restored peace and 
leisure to the Christians, the Trinitarian controversy was re- 
vived in the ancient seat of Platonism, the learned, the opulent, 
the tumultuous city of Alexandria ; and the flame of religious 
discord was rapidly communicated from the schools to the 
clergy, the people, the province, and the East The abstruse 
question of the eternity of the Loffos was agitated in ecclesiastic 
conferences and popular sermons ; and the heterodox opinions 

*** The most ancient creeds were drawn up with the greatest latitudes. 
See Bull, ^Judicium Eodea. CathoL,) who tries to prevent Episoopi*if 
from derivmg aoy advantage from this observatioD. 

^ The heresies of Praxeas, Sabellius, ^, are accurately explained 
bv Mofiheim (p. 426, 680 — 714.) Praxeas, who came to Rome 
about the end of the second century, deceived, for some time, th« 
simplicity of the bishop, and was confuted by die pen of (he angry 

*^ Socratea acknowledges, that the heresy of Arius proceeded fn<m 
his strong desire to embrace an opinion the most diametrically appokiia 
lo that of Sabellius. 
vo L, IT. — O 

Digitized by 


314 THE DECLINE AND FALL [A. D.318-42& 

of Arius ^' wero soon made public by bis own zeal, and by 
tbat of bis adversaries. His most implacable adversaries bave 
acknowledged tbe learning and blameless life of that eminent 
presbyter, who, in a former election, had declared, and perhaps 
generously declined, his pretensions to the episcopal throne.^ 
His competitor Alexander assumed the office of his judge. 
The important cause wais argued before h^m ; and if at first he 
seemed to hesitate, he at length pronounced his final sentence, 
as an absolute rule of faith.** llie undaunted presbyter, who 
presiimed to resist the authority of his angry bishop, was sep- 
arated from the community of the church. But the pride of 
Arius was supported by the applause of a numerous party. 
He reckoned among his immediate followers two bishops of 
Egypt, seven presbyters, twelve deacons, and (what may 
appear almost incredible) seven hundred virgins. A larg€ 
majority of the bishops of Asia appeared to support or favoi 
his cause ; and their measures were conducted by Eusebiuib 
of Csesarea, the most learned of the Christian prelates ; and 
by Eusebius of Nicomedia, who had acquired the reputatioB 
of a statesman without forfeiting that of a saint. Synods is 
Palestine and Bithynia were opposed to the sjmods of Egypt 
The attention of the prince and people was attracted by thift 
theological dispute ; and the decision, at the end of six years,* 
was referred to the supreme authority of the general council ol 

When the mysteries of the Christian faith were dangerousl} 
exposed to public debate, it might be observed, that the huma» 

*' The figure and manners of Arius, the character and numbers ot 
his first proselytes, are painted in very lively colors by Epiphaniua^ 
(torn. L Haeres. box. 8, p. 729,) and we cannot but regret tliat he 
should soon forget the historian, to assume the task of controversy. 

** See Philostorgius (1. 1 c. 3,) and Godefroy's ample Commentary. 
Yet the credibility of Philostorgius is lessened, in the eyes of the 
orthodox, by his Arianism ; and in those of rational critics, by hia 
passion, his prejudice, and his ignorance. 

** Sozomen (L i. c. 15) represents Alexander as indifferent, and 
even ignorant, in the b^inning of the controversy; while Socrates 
(I L c. 5) ascribes the origin of the dispute to the vain curiosity of 
his tlieological speculations. Dr. Jortin (Bemarks on Ecdeaiastical 
History, yoL ii. p. 178) has censured, with his usual freedom, iiie 

conduct of Alexander ; vpds lipyn» i^anrirat .... bftoitif <pp6vtt» ixl* 

^* The flames of Arianism might bum for some time in secret; but 
there is reason to believe that thaj burst out with violence as early m 
the year 819. Tillemonl, Mem. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 774 — 780. 

Digitized by 


A.D. 318>325.J uF thk roman emfiius. SlU 

andentanding was capable of forming threo distitct, thcu^ 
imperfect systems, concemiDg the nature of the Divine Trinity ' 
and it was pronounced, that none of these systems, in a pure 
and absolute sense, were exempt from heresy and error/^ 
I. According to the fi/st hypothesis, which was maintained by 
Arius and las disciples, the Logos was a dependent and spon- 
taneous production, created from nothing by the will of the 
&thor. The Son, by whom aU things were made,^* had been 
begotten before all worlds, and the longest of the astronomical 
periods could be compared only as a fleeting moment to the 
extent of his duration ; yet this duration was not infinite,^* and 
there had been a time which preceded the ineffable generation 
of the Logos, On this only-begotteu Son, the Almighty Fathei 
had transfdsed his ample spirit, and impressed th& effulgence 
of his glory. Visible image of invisible perfection, he saw, at 
an immeasurable distance beneath his feet, the thrones of the 
brightest archangels ; yet he shone only with a reflected light, 
and, like the sons of the Roman emperors, who were invested 
with the titles of Caesar or Augustus," he governed the uni- 
verse in obedience to the will of his Father and Monarch. II. 
In the second hypothesis, the Logos possessed all the inherent, 
incommunicable perfections, which religion and philosophy 
appropriate to the Supreme God. Three distinct and infinite 
minds or substances, three coequal and coetemal beings, com- 
posed the Divine Essence ; " and it would have implied con- 

*^ Quid credidit? Certe, aut tria nomina audiens tres Deos esse 
credidlt, et idololatra effectus est ; aut in tribus yocabulis trinominem 
credens Deum, in Sabellii haeresim incurrit; aut edoctus ab Arianis 
vmaa esse yerum Deum Patrem, filium et spiritcun sanctum credidit 
creainiras. Aut extra hsec quid credere potoerit nescio. Hieronym. 
adv. Luciferianoe. Jerom reserves for the last the orthodox syBtem, 
which is more complicated and difficult. 

^ As the doctrine of absolute creation from nothing was gradually 
introduced among the Christians, (Beausobre, torn. ii. p. 166 — 216,) the 
dignity of the workman very naturally rose with that of the worle. 

*• The metaphysics of Dr. Clarke (Scripture Trinity, p. 276—280) 
could digest an eternal generation from an infinite cfiuse. 

^ This profane and absurd simile is employed by several of the 
primitive fathers, particularly by Athenagoras, in his Apology to the 
emperor Marcus and his son ; and it is alleged, without censure, by 
Bull himself. See Defens. Fid. Nicen. sect iii. c 6, No. 4. 

** See Cudworth's Intellectual System, p. 669, 6*79. This dangerous 
hypothesis was countenanced by the two Gregories, of Nyssa and 
Nazianzen, by Oyril of Alexandria, John of Damascus, <fec. See Cud- 
worth, pt 603. Le Clerc, Bibliothftque ITnivorselle, torn. xviS. p 97 

Digitized by 


316 TOK DEC^NE AKD FALL [A. D. 318-82A 

tradiction, that any of them should uot have existed, or thai 
they should ever cease to exist** The advocates of a system 
which seemed to establish three independent Deities, attempted 
to preserve the unity of the First Cause, so conspicaous in the 
design and order of the world, by the j>erpetual concord of 
their administration, and the essential agreement of their will. 
A faint resemblance of this unity of action, may be discovered 
;n the societies of men, and even of animals. The causes 
which disturb their harmony, proceed only from the imper- 
fection and inequality of their Acuities ; but the omnipotenoe 
V7hich is guided by infinite wisdom and goodness, cannot M 
of choosing the same means for the accomplishment of the 
same ends. IIL Three beings, who, by the self-derived n6oes> 
sity of their existence, possess all the divine attributes in the 
most perfect degree ; who are eternal in duration, infinite in 
space, and intimately present to each other, and to the whole 
universe ; irresistibly force themselves on the astonished mind, 
as one and the same being,*' who, in the ceconomy of grace, as 
well as in that of nature, may manifest himself under different 
forms, and be considered under difierent aspects. By this 
hypothesis, a real substantial trinity is refined into a trinity of 
names, and abstract modifications, Uiat subsist only in the mind 
which conceives them. The lA>gos is no longer a person, but 
an attribute ; and it is only in a figurative sense that the epi- 
thet of Son can be applied to the eternal reason, which was 
with God from the beginning, and by which^ not by wJwm^ all 
things were made. The incarnation of the Logos is reduced 
to a mere inspiration of the Divine Wisdom, which filled the 
soul, and directed all the actions, of the man Jesus. Thus, 
after revolving around the theological circle, we are surprised 
to find that the Sabellian ends where the Ebionite had begun ; 
and that the incomprehensible mystery which excites our adora- 
tion, eludes our inquiry." 

" Augustin seems to euvy the freedom of the FhHosophera. lib 
eris yerbis loquuntur pbilosophi .... Nos autem noD didmiis duo vel 
iria prindpim duos yel trea Doos. De Givitat Dei, z. 28. 

*' Boetius, who was deeply versed in the philosophy- of Plato and 
Aristotle, ezphuns tlie unity of the Trinity by the indifference of the 
three persons. See the iuiiicioiM remarks of Le Clerc, Biblioth^ue 
(Hioisie, torn, xvl p. 225, Ac 

'* If the Sabellians were startled at this conduaion, they were drircn 
down another precipioe into the confession, that the FaUier was bom 
of a virgip, that he had suffered on the cross ; and thus deserved the 
aJious epithet of PatripassianSf with which they were branded hv 

Digitized by 


A. D. 918 -325.] OF THE ROMAN EMPIRK. 31^ 

If the bishops of the council of Nice** had been permitted 
to follow the unbiased dictates of their conscience, Anus and 
his associates could scarcely have flattered themselves with 
the hopes of obtaining a majority of votes, in favor of an 
hypothesis so directly averse to the two most popular opinions 
of the Catholic world. The Arians soon perceived the danger 
of their situation, and prudently assumed those modest virtues, 
which, in the fvtty of civil and religions dissensions, are seldom 
praciised, or even praised, except by the weaker party. They 
recommended tiie exercise of Christian charity and modera- 
tion ; VLTfTtd the incomprehensible nature of the Controversy ; 
disclaim^ the use of any terms or definitions which could not 
be found in ^e Scriptures ; and offered, by very liberal con- 
cessions, to satisfy' their adversaria without renouncing the 
integrity of their own principles. The victorious faction 
received all their proposals with haughty suspicion ; and anx- 
iously sought for 8.'>me irreconcilable mark of distinction, the 
rejection of which might involve the Arians in the guilt and 
consequences of heresy. A letter was publicly read, and 
ignominiously torn, in which their patron, Eusebius of Nico- 
media, ingenuously confessed, that the admission of the Ho- 
MoousiON, or Consubstantial, a word already familiar to the 
Platonists, was incompatible with the principles of their theo- 
logical systefti. The fortunate opportunity was eagerly em- 
braced by the bishops, who governed the resolutions of the 
apod ; and, aflcording to the lively expression of Ambrose,** 
they used the sword, which heresy itself had drawn from the 
scabbard, to cut off the head of the hated monster. The 
consubstantiality of the Father and the Son was established by 
the council of Nice, and has been unanimously received as a 

iheir adversaries. See the inveciivss of Tertullian against Praxeas^ 
and the temperate refle'^tions cf Mcsheim, (p. 423, 681 ;) and Beauso- 
bre, torn. i. L iii c. 6, p. 533. 

" The transactions of the couneil of Nice are related by tho 
ancients, not only in a partial, but ia a very imperfect manner. Such 
a picture as TVa Paolo wotdd have diiiwn, ccn never be recovered ; 
but such rude sketches as have been traced by the pencil of bigotry, 
and that of reason, may be seen in Tillemont, (Mem. Eccles. torn. v. 
p, 089 — ^^69,) and in Le Clerc, (Biblioth6qft3 X)nivef&'3ile, torn, x p. 

** "We are indebted to Ambrose (De Fide, L vL cv\ '^\) Ix* *h% 
knowledge of this curious anecdote. Hoc verbum pwv>-iH>t 7*- *^ 
^Qod viderimt adversariis esse formidini; ut t&n<;|uaiD c\'AAy^ ^ 
ipsiB gladio, ipsum nefnnda caput hsereseos an^putarent 

Digitized by 


Si8 TUfii DECLIN£ AND FALL [A. D. 3 1 8*326. 

fundamental article of the Christian Mth^ by the consent of 
the Greek, the Latin, the Oriental, and the Protestant charchea< 
But if the samQ word had not served to stigmatize the heretics, 
and to unite the Catholics, it would have been inadequate to 
the purpose of the majority, by whom it was introduced into 
the orthodox creed. This majority was divided into two 
parties, distinguished by a contrary tendency to the sentiments 
of the Tritheists and of the SabelUans. But as those opposite 
extremes seemed to overthrow the foundations either of natural 
or revealed religion, they mutually agreed to quahfy the rigor 
of their principles ; and to disavow the just, but invidious,- oon> 
sequences, which might be urged by their antagonists. The 
interest of the common cause inclined them to join their num- 
bers, and to conceal their differences; their animosity was 
softened by the healing counsels of toleration, and their dis- 
putes were suspended by the use of the mysterious Homoauaion^ 
which either party was free to interpret according to their 
peculiar tenets. The Sabellian sense, which, about fifty years 
before, had obliged the council of Antioch*' to prohibit this 
celebrated term, had endeared it to those theol<^ians who 
entertained a secret but partial affection for a nominal Trinity. 
But the more fashionable saints of the Arian times, the intrepid 
Athanasius, the learned Gregory Nazianzen, and the other 
pillars of the church, who supported with ability and success 
the Nicene doctrine, appeared to consider the expression of 
tubstance as if it had been synonymous with that of nature ; 
and they ventured to illustrate their meaning, by affirming that 
three men, as they belong to the same common species, are 
consubstantial, or homoousian to each other.** This pure and 
distinct equality was tempered, on the one hand, by the internal 
connection, and spiritual penetration which indissolubly unites 
the divine persons;" and, on the other, by the preeminence 

"^ See Bull, Defens. Fid. Nicen. sect ii. dp. 25 — 86. He thinks it 
his daty to reconcile two orthodox synods. 

" According to Aristotle, the star s were homoousian to each other. 
*' That Hamo&imos means of one subetance in Hndj hath been shown 
by Petavius, Curcellasus, Cudworth, Le Clerc, <lEe., and to prove it 
would be adum agereP This is the just remark of Dr. Jortin, (voL iL 
p. 212,) who examines the Arian controversy. with learning, candcr, 
and ingonuitj. 

" See Petavins, (Dogm. Theolog. torn. iL L iv. c. 16, p. 468, Ac J 
Oudworth, (p. 559,) Bull, (sect. iv. p. 285—290, edit. Grab.) The 
repci(w^jfcif, or eircuminceasioy is perhaps the deenest and darkest onfr. 
tkv *-* 'he whole theological abyss 

Digitized by 


4. D. 818-326.] 07 TUft KOMA29 £MPI&B. 818 

of the Father, which was acknowledged as fiur as it la oom- 
patible with the independence of the Son.'® Within these 
limita, the almost invisible and tremulous ball of orthodoxy 
was allowed securely to vibrate. On either side, beyond this 
consecrated ground, the heretics and the daemons lurked in 
ambush to surprise and devour the unhappy wanderer. But 
as the degrees of theological hatred depend on the spirit of the 
war, rather than on the importance of the controversy, the 
heretics who degradad, were treated with more severity than 
those who annihilated, the person of the Son. The life of 
Athanasins was consumed in irreconcilable opposition to the 
impious madness of the Arians;*^ but he defended above 
twenty years the Sabellianism of Marcellus of Ancyra ; and 
when at last he was compelled to withdraw himself from his 
communion, he continued to mention, with an ambiguous smile, 
the venial errors of his respectable friend.*' 

The authority of a general council, to which the Arians 
themselves had been compelled to submit, inscribed on thi3 
banners of the orthodox party the mysterious characters of 
the word Homa&usion^ which essentially contributed, notwith- 
standing some obscure disputes, some nocturnal combats, to 
maintain and perpetuate the uniformity of £aith, or at least of 
language. The consubstantialists, who by their success have 
deserved and obtained the title of Catholics, gloried in the 
simplicity and steadiness of their own c^ped, and insulted the 
repeated variations of their adversaries, who were destitute of 
any oertain rule of faith. The sincerity or the cunning of 
the Arian chiefs, the fear of the laws or of the people, their 
reverence for Christ, their hatred of Athanasius, all the causes, 
human and divine, that influence and disturb the counsels of a 
theological fsu^tion, introduced among the sectaries a spirit of 
discord and inconstancy, which, in the cours^i of a few yeare, 
erected eighteen different models of religion," and avenged 

'* The third section of BuU*s Defence of the Nicene Faith, \rhick 
■ome of his antagonists have called nonsense, and others hereby, is coiv 
Bccrated to the supremacy of the Father. 

*^ The ordinary appellation with which Athanasius and his followers 
cfaoee to compliment the Arians, was that of Ariomanitet. 

'' Epiphanius, torn i. Hseres. Izxil 4, p. 837. See the adventures 
of Marcellus, in Tillemont^ (Mem. Ecdes. torn. viL p. 880 — 899.) HU 
work, in one book, of the unity of God, was answered in the three books, 
which are still extant, of £use bins. After a long and careful examination, 
Petavius (tom. il L i. c 14, p. 78) has reluctantly pronounced the oon^^ 
iemnation of Marcellus. 

** Atlianasius, in his epistle concerning the Synods of Sele icia anil 

Digitized by 



die violated dignitj of the church. The zealous Hilaiy,** 
who, from the peculiar hardships of his situation, was iodiued 
to extenuate rather than to aggravate the errors of the Oiien- 
tal clergy, declares, that in the wide extent of ^ the ten proYai. 
inces of Asia, to which he had been banished, there could bo 
found very few prelates who had preserved the knowledge of 
the true God.** The oppression which he had felt, the dis- 
orders of which he was the spectator and the victim, appeased, 
during a short interval, the angry passbns of' his soul ; and 
in the following passage, of which I shall transcribe a few lines^ 
the bishop of Poitiers unwarily deviates into the style of a 
Christian philosopher. '* It is a thing," says Hilary, " equally 
deplorable and dangerous, that there are as many creeds as 
opinions among men, as many doctrines as inclinations, and as 
many sources of blasphemy as there . are &ulte among us ; 
because we make creeds arbitrarily, and explain them as arbi- 
trarily. The Homoousion is rejected, and received, and. ex- 
plained away by successive synods. The partial or total 
resemblance of the Father and of the Son is a subject <^ dispute 
for these unhappy times. Every year, nay, every moon, we 
make, new creeds to describe invisible mysteries. We repent 
of what we have done, we defend those who repent, we anath- 
ematize those whom we defended. We condemn either Hie 
doctrine of others in ourselves, or our own .in that of otlieis ; 
and reciprocally tearisg one anoilier to pieces, we have been 
the cause of each other's ruin." " 

It will not be 6X}:»ected, it would not perhaps be endured, 

Rimini, (torn, i p. 886 — ^006,) has given an ample list of Arian creeds, 
which has been enlarged and improved by the labors of the indefat- 
igable Tillemont^ (Mem. Eccles. torn, tl p. 477.) 

** Erasmus, with admirable sense and freedom, has delineated the 
just character of Hilary. To revise his text, to compose the annals of 
his Ufe^ and to justify his sentiments and conduct, is the province of the 
Benedictine editors. 

"* Absque episcopo Eleusio et pauds cum eo, ez majore parte Asi- 
an® deceih provincue, inter quas consisto, vere Deum nesdunt Atque 
utinam penitus nescirent 1 cum procliviore enim vemU ignorarent qnam 
obtrectarent. Hilar, de Synodis, sive de Fide Orientaliuiik, a 68, p^ 
1186, edit. Benedict In the celebrated parallel between atheism and 
superstition, the bishop of Poitiers would have been surprised in the 
[^osophic society of Bayle and Plutarch 

' "' Hilarius ad Constantium, 1. i c. 4, 5, p. 1227, 1228. This re- 
■uurkable passage deserved the attenticm of Mr. Locke, who has trail* 
■eribed ii (voL iii. p. 470) into the model of his new commoa-p]aiOi 

Digitized by 


4. D. 918^25.1 07 THE ROMAN EHFIRX. Ml 

thftt I sliould swell this theological digression, bj a minott 
examination of the eighteen crf^, the authors c^ which, for 
the most part, disclaimed the odions name of their parent 
Anus. It is amusing enough to delineate the form, and to 
trace the vegetation, ^ a singular plant ; but the tedious detail 
of leaves without flowers, and of b-anches without fruit, would 
80(Ni exhaust the patience, iand disappoint the curiosity, of the 
laboiious student. One question, which gradually arose from 
the Arian controversy, may, however, be noticed, as it served 
to produce and discriminate the three sects, who were united 
only by their common aversion to the Homoousion of the 
Nicene synod. 1. If they were asked whether the Son was 
like unto the Father, the question was resolutely answered in 
the n^ative, by the heretics who adhered to the principles of 
Arius, or indeed to those of philosophy ; which seem to estab- 
lish an infinite difEereace between the Creator and the most 
excellent of his creatures. This obvious consequence was 
maintained by M^va" on whom the zeal of his adversaries 
bestowed the surname of the Atheist. His restless and aspir- 
ing spirit urged him to try almost every profession of human 
life. He was successively a slave, or at l£ast a husbandman, 
a travelling tinker, a goldsmith, a physician, a schoolmaster, a 
theologian, and at last the apostle of a new church, which was 
propagated by the abilities of his disciple Eunomius."* Armed 
with texts of Scripture, and with captious syllogisms from the 
logic of Aristotle, the subtle ^tius had acquired the fame of 
an invincible disputant^ whomi it was impossible either to 
silence or to convince. Such taleiits engaged the friendship 
of the Arian bishops, till they were forced to renounce, and 
even to persecute, a dangerous ally, who, by the accuracy 
of hb reasoning, had prejudiced their cause in the popu- 
lar opinion, and ofifeiided the piety of their most devoted 

"^ In Philostorgius (L iii. a 15) the character and adventures of 
^tius appear singular enough, though they are carefully sofbenecj 
by the hand of a friend, 'fiie editor, Qodefroy, (p. 153,) who was 
more aMached to his princi]^es than to his aumor, has colldcied the 
odious circumstances which ma various adversaries have preserved or 

*^ According to the judgment of a man who respected both these 
sectaries, ^tius had been endowed with a stronger understanding 
and Eunomius had acquired more art and learning. (Philostorgius, L 
viil o. 18.) The confession and apology of Eunomius (Fabridus, 
Bibhoi GriBC. torn, viil p. 258 — ^805) is one of the few heretical pieeei 
which have escaped. 

Digitized by 


9n THE DECLINB AMD FALL [A. 0.318-325 

followers. 2. The omnipotenoe of the Creator suggested a 
specious and respectful solution of the likenesa of the Father 
and the Son ; and iaaih might humbly receive what reason 
could not presume to deny, that the Supreme God might com- 
municate his infinite . perfections, and create a being similar 
only to himself.*' These Arians w^« powerfully supported 
by the weight and abilities of their leaders, who had su<y 
ooiried to the management of the Eusebian interest, and who 
occupied the principal thrones of the East They detested, 
perhaps with some affectation, the impiety of ^tins; they 
professed to believe, either without reserve, or according to 
the Scriptures, that the Son was different from all other 
creatures, and similar only to the Father. But they denied, 
that he was either of the same, or of a similar substftnoe ; 
sometimes boldly justifying their dissent, and sometimes 
objecting to the use of the word substance, which seems to 
imply an adequate, or at least, a distinct, notion of the nature 
of the Deity. 3. The sect which deserted the doctrine of a 
similar substance, was the most numerous, at least in the 
provinces of Asia ; and when the leaders of both parties were 
assembled in the Council of Seleucia,^* their opinion would 
have prevailed by a majority of one hundred and five to forty- 
three bishops. The Greek word, which was chosen to express 
i^is mysterious resemblance, bears so close an affinity to the 
orthodox symbol, that the pro&ne of every age have derided 
the funous contests which the difference of a single diphthong 
excited between the Homoousians and the Homoiousians. Ab 
it frequently happens, that the sounds and characters which 
approach the nearest to each other accidentally represent the 
most opposite ideas, the observation would be itself ridiculous, 
if it were possible to mark any real and sensible distinction 
between the doctrine of che Semi-Arians, as they were im- 
properly styled, and that of the Catholics themselves. The 
bishop of Poitiers, who in his Phrygian exile very wisely 

** Yet» according to the opinioD of Estins and Bull, (p. 297,) there 
is one power — ^that of ereation— which God cannot communicate to a 
creature. Estius, who so accurately defined the limits of Omnipotenoei 
was a Dutchman by birth, and by trade a scholastic divme. Dupin 
Bibliot Eocles. torn. zriL p. 46. 

^® Sabinus ap. Socrat (L ii. c 89) had copied the acts : Athanaaius 
and HUaryhave erolained the divisions of this Arian synod; the other 
drcumstanoes which are relative to it are carefully collected by Baro* 
ains and Tillemont 

Digitized by 


A. D* 3 ^9-325.] or thk roman xhpias. 8S>I 

aimed at a ooalition of parties, endeavon to pro\e that, by a 
pious and faithful interpretation/^ the Homoioumn may be 
reduced to a oonsubetantial sense. Yet he confesses that th<> 
word has a dark and suspicious aspect ; and, as if darkness 
were congenial to theological disputes,* the Semi-Arians, who 
advanced to the doors of the church, assailed them with the 
most unrelenting fury. 

The provinces' of %ypt and Asia, which cultivated the 
hinguage and manners of the Greeks, had deeply imbibed the 
venom of the Arian controversy. The fiimihar study of the 
Platonie system, a vain and argumentative disposition, a 
copious and flexible idiom, supplied the clergy and people of 
the East with an inexhaustible flow of words and distinctions ; 
and, in the midst of their fierce contentions, they easily for- 
got the doubt which is recommended by philosophy, and the 
submission which is enjoined by religion. The inhabitants of 
the West were of a less inquisitive spirit ; their passions were 
not so forcibly moved by invisible objects, their minds were 
(ess frequently exercised by the habits of dispute; and ^uch 
was the happy ignorance of the Gallican church, that Hilary 
himself above thirty years after the first general council, was 
still a stranger to the Nicene creed.** The Latins had re- 
ceived the rays of divine knowledge through the dark and 
doubtful medium of a translation. The poverty and stub- 
bornness of their native tongue was not always capable of 
affording just equivalents for the Greek terms, for the techni 
cal words of the Platonic philosophy," which had been con- 
secrated, by the gospel or by the church, to express the mys- 
teries of the Christian feith; and a verbal defect might 

*' FideH et pii inteUigentil . . De Synod c tY, p. 1193. In his 
bis short apologetical notes (first published by the Benedictines from 
a MS. of Chartres) he obseryes, that he used this cautious CT;^e88ion, 
qui intelligerum et impiam, p. 1206. See p. 1146. Philostorgius, who 
Baw those objects through a different medium, is inclined to forget the 
difference of the important diphthong. Sec in particular yiii. 17, and 
Godefroy, p. 862. 

^* Tester DeumcGeli atque terrs me cum neutrum audi&sem, semper 
tamen utrumque sensisse. . . . Begeneratus pridem et in episco- 
patu aliquantisper manens fidem Nicenam nunquam nisi exsulaturus 
audivi Hilar, de Synodis, c. xci. p. 1206. The Benedictines are per- 
suaded that he governed the diocese of Poitiers several years before 
his exile. 

^' Seneca (Episi Iviii.) complains that even the rd iv of the Platonistf 
(the en9 of the bolder schoolmen) could not be expressed by a LatiB 

Digitized by 


124 ruj! DscuKx and tall [A.D.dl8-92d 

introduce into the Lftiin theology a long train of error or per- 
pleiitj.^* But as the western proyinoab had the goodibr- 
tune of deriving their religion from an orthodox source^ 
they preserved with steadmess the doctrine which" they had 
accepted with docility; and when the Arian pestilence ap- 
proached their fironti^^, they were supplied with the season- 
able preservative of the Homoousion, by the paternal care of 
the Roman pontic Their sentiments and their temper wen 
displayed in the memorable synod of Rimini, which surpassed 
in numbers the council of Nice, since it Wite composed of 
above four hundred l^shope of Italy, Africa, Spain, Gaul, 
Britain, and Illyricum. From *he first debates it appeared, 
that only fourscore prelates adhered to the party, though they 
affected to anathematize the name and memory, of Anus. 
But this inferiority was compensated by the advantages of 
skill, of experience, and of discipline ; and the minority wa& 
conducted by Valens and Ursacius, two bishq)s of Illyricum, 
who had spent their lives in the intrigues of courts and coun- 
cils, and who had been trained under the Eusebian banner in 
the religious wars of the East. By their arguments and nego- 
tiations, they embarrassed, they confounded, they at last 
deceived, the honest simplicity of the Latin bishops; who 
suffered the palladium of the faith to be extorted fiom their 
hand by fraud and importunity, rather than by open violence. 
The council of Bimini was not allowed to separate, till the 
members had imprudently subscribed a captious creed, iL , 
which some expressions, susceptible . of an heretical sense, 
were inserted in the room of the Homoousion. It was on this 
occasion, that, according to Jerom, the world was surprised to 
find itself Arian/* But the bishops of the Latin provinces 
had no sooner reached their respective dioeeses, than they dis- 
covered their mistake, and repented of their weakness. Tho 
ignominious capitulation was rejected with disdain and abho^ 
renoe ; and the Homoousian standard, which had been shaken 
but not overthrown, was more firmly replanted in all the 
churches of the West?" 

^* The preference which the fourth cotmcil of the Lateran at lenfftb 
vave to a numerical rather than a generical unity (See Petav. torn, il L 
v. c. 18, p. 424) waa ikvored by the Latin language: rpUi seems t« 
excite the idea of eubstance, trinitas of qualities. 

V* Injgpeniuit totus orbis, et Arianum se esse miratus est Hiefo- 

nym. adv. Lucifer, torn. L p. 145. 
•• Tha storv o^ tho council of 

Rimini is very elegantly told by Sul« 

Digitized by 



S«eh was the liaa and prograss, and such wore tLo natftral 
fevoktions of those theological disputes, which disturbed the 
peace of Ohxistaamty under the reigns of Oonstantane and of 
his sons.' But as those princes presumed to extend their des- 
potism over the fiuth, as well as over the lives and fortune^, 
of their suhjects, the weight of their suffirage sometimes in- 
clined the eedesiastioal balance : and the prerogataves of the 
King of Heaven were settled, or changed, or modi6ed, in the 
cabinet of an eartUy moharoh. 

The unhapp J apuit of discord which pervaded the prov- 
inces of the East, interrupted the triumph of Oonstantine ; 
but the emperor continued for some time to view, with cool 
and careless indifference, the object of the dispute. As he 
was yet ignorant of the difficulty of appeasing the quarrels 
of theok^ians, he addressed to the contending parties, to 
Alexander and to Anus, a moderating epistle ; ^' which may 
be ascribed, with far greater reason, to &e untutored sense of 
a soldier and statesman, than to the dictates of any of his 
episcopal counsellois. He attributes the origin of the whole 
controversy to a trifling and subtle question, concerning an 
incomprdbtensible point of law, whiea was foolishly asked 
by the bishop, and imprudently resolved by llie presbyter. 
He laments uiat the Christian people, who had the same God, 
the same religion, and the same worshfp, should be divided by 
such inconsiderable distinctions^ and he seriously reoommendi^ 
to the ciergy of Alexandria the example of the Greek philosi 
ophers ; who could maintain their arguments without losing 
their temper, and assert their freedom without violating theii 
friendship. The indifference and contempt of the sovereign 
would have been, perhaps, the most effectual method of 

picias Severtw, (Hist Sacra, I ii. p 419--48b, edit Lugd. Bat 1647,) 
and by Jerom, in his dialogue against the Ludferians. The design of 
the latter is tc apologize for the conduct of the Latin bishops, Who were 
deceived, and who repented. 

" £u8ebiu8,io Vlt Constant L il c 64 — 12, The principles of tol- 
eration and religious indifference, contained in this epistle, naye given 
creat ofience to Baroniua, Tillemont, ifcc, who suppose that the em|>eror 
hftd dome evil counselliDr, eiiher Satan or Eusebius, at his elbow. See 
vortiii's Bemarks, torn. ii. p. 188.* 

* Ueinicfaen (Excnrstis xi.) qno'^s with approbation the term "goMen 
woi6b," applied by Ziegler to this moderate and tolerant letter of Constav- 
tine. Ifay an English clcr^man ventore to express his regret, that " trm 
fine gold floon became dim' in the Christian chnreb 1 — ^11. 
VOL. n. 

Digitized by 


886 THS DEOLUrS AND FALL [A. D. 325 

•ikning ilie dispute, if the popular cnirent had been less 
rapid and impetuous, and if Oonstantuid himself, in the midst 
of fiiction and fanatidsm, could have preserved the calm pos- 
session of his own mind. But his eoclesiastieal ministers soon 
contrived to seduce the impartiality of the magistrate, and to 
awaken the zeal of the proselyte. He was provoked by the 
insults which had been offered to his statues ; he was alarmed 
by the real, as well as the imaginary magnitude of the spread* 
Ing mischief; and he extinguished the hope of peace and tol- 
eration, from the moment that he assembled three hundred 
bishops within the walls of the same palace. The presence 
of the monarch swelled the importance of the debate ; his 
attention. multiplied the arguments ; and he exposed his person 
with a patient intrepidity, which animated the vak>r of the 
combatants. Notwithstanding the applause which has been 
bestowed on the eloquence and sagacity, of Constantine,'* a 
fioman general, whose religion might be still a subject of 
doubt, and whose mind had not been enlightened eitJ^er l^ 
study or by inspiration, was indifferently- qualified to discuss, 
in the Greek language, a metaphysical question, or an article 
of &ith. But the credit of his favorite Osius, who i^pears to 
have presided in the council of Nice, might dispose the em- 
peror in favor of the orthodox party ; and a well-timed insin- 
uation, that the :8ame Eusebius of Nicomedia, who now imto- 
tected the heretic, had lately assisted the tyrant," might 
exasperate him against their adveisaries. The Nioene creed 
was ratified by Gonstantine ; and his firm declaration, that 
those who resisted the divine judgment of the synod, must 
prepare themselves lor an immediate exile, annihilated the 
murmurs of a feeble opposition ; which, from seventeen, was 
almost instantly reduced to two, protesting bishops. Eusebius 
of Csesarea yielded a reluctant and ambiguous consent to the 
Homoousion ; ** and the wavering conduct of the Nicoraedian 

^* Eusebius in Vit Oonstantin. 1. iii c. 18. 

** Theodoret has preserved (L L c. 20) an epistle from Constantiuc 
to the people of Nicomedia, in which me monarch declares himself 
the pubhc accuser of one of his subjects ; he styles Eusebius i rsit 
rvpavvUns o>fior4raf w^fiiarnki and comphiins of his hostile behavior 
durinff the civil war. 

•• See in Socrates, (1. i. c. 8,) or rather in Theodoret, (1, Lc. 12,) 
m orijg^inal letter of Eusebius of Cssarea, in which he attempts to jus- 
^ his subscribing the Homoousion. The character of Eusebius has 
dwavs been a problem; but those who have read the second critical 
epivtlo Of Tie Cl€TC, (Ars Oritica, torn. iii. p. 30 — C9,) m«i9t entertita 

Digitized by 


A. D. 328-33^.] of the roman smfhuc. 991 

Eusebitts served only to delay, about three months, liis disgrace 
and ezile."^ The impious Arius was banished into one of the 
remote provinces of Illyricum ; his person and disciples were 
branded by law with the odious name of Porphynans; his 
writings were condemned to the flames, and a capital punish- 
ment was denounced against those in whose possession they 
should be found. The emperor had now imbibed the spirit of 
controversy, and the angry, sarcastic style of his edicts was de> 
signed to inspire his subjects with the hatred which he had 
conceived against the enemies of Christ^ 

But, as if the conduct of the emperor had been guided by 
passion instead of prindple, three years from the coimcil of 
Nice were scarcely elapsed before he discovered some sjrrap- 
toms of mercy, and even of indulgence, towards the proscribed 
sect, which was secretly protected by his £sivorite sister. The 
exiles were recalled, and Eusebius, who gradually resumed his 
influence over the mind of Oonstantine, was restored to the 
episcopal . throne, from which he had been ignommiously de- 
graded. Arius himself was treated by the whole court with 
the respect which would have been due to an innocent and 
oppressed man. His faith was approved by the synod of 
Jerusalem ; and the emperor seemed impatient to repair his 
injustice, by issuing an absolute command, that he should be 
solemnly admitted to the communion in the cathedral of Con- 
stantinople. On the same day, which had been fixed for the 
triumph of Arius, he expired ; and the strange and horrid cir- 
cumstances of his death might excite a suspicion, that the 
orthodox saints had contributed more efficaciously than by 
their prayers, to deliver the church from the most formi- 
dable of her enemies.*' The three principal leaders of the 
Catholics, Athanasius of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and 

a very unfavorable opinion of the orthodoxy and Binceritj of the biishop 
of Osesarea. 

*' Athanasius, torn, i p. 727. Philostorgius, L L dO, and Godefroy'a 
Commentary, p. 41, 

** Socrates, L i. c. 9. In bis circular letters, which were addressed to 
the several cities, Oonstantine employed against the heretics the arms 
of ridicule and comic raillery. 

•• We derive the original story from Athanasius, (tona. i p. 670,) 
who expresses some reluctance to stigmatize the memory of the dead 
He mignt ex£iggerate ; but the perpetual commerce of Alexandria and 
Gonstsmtinople would have rendered it dangerous to invent Those 
who press the iterai narrative of the death of Arius (his bowels 
suddenly burst out in a privy) must make their option between potsoa 
and mirarle. 

Digitized by 


938 THE DECUKfi AVJ) FALL [A. D. 337-361 

Paul of Constantinople were deposed on various accusations, by 
the sentence of numerous councils ; and were afterwards banished 
into distant provinces by the first of the Christian emperors, who, 
in the last moments of his life, received the rites of baptism 
from the Arian bishop of Nicomedia. The ecclesiastical gov. 
emment of Constantine cannot be justified from the reproach 
of levitj and weakness. But the credubus mbnarch, tinskilled 
in the stratagems of theological warfare, might be deceived by 
ihe modest and specious professions of the heretics, whose sen- 
timents he never perfectly understood; and while he protected 
A.rius, and persecuted Athanasius, he still considered the council 
of Nice as the bulwark of the Christian fiiilb, and the peculiar 
glory of his own reign." 

The sons of C<mstantine must have been admitted from 
their childhood into the rank of catechumens ; but they imitat- 
ed, in the delay of their baptism, the example of l^eir fiither. 
Like him they presumed to pronounce their judgment on 
mysteries into whidi th^ had never been regularly initiated ;*• 
and the fate of the Trinitarian controversy depended, in a 
great measure, on the sentiments of Constantius ; who inherit- 
ed the provinces of the East, and acquired the possession of 
the whole empire. The Arian presbyter or biBkop, who had 
secreted for bis use the testament of the deceased emperor, 
improved the fortunate occasion whidi had introduced hhn to 
the famili^urity of a prince, whose public counsels were always 
swayed by his domestic favorites. The eunuchs and slaves 
difiused the spiritual poison liirough the palace, and the dan- 
gerous infection was communicated by the female attendants 
to the guards, and by the empress to her unsuspicious hns- 
band.*' The partiality which Constantius always eiq)r^s8ed 

^ The change in the sentiments, or at least in the conduct, of Con- 
fitaotine, may be traced in Eusebius, (in Vit. Constant. L ill c 23, L iv. 
c. 41,) Socrates, (Lie. 28 — 39,) Sozomen, (1. ii. c. 16 — 34,) Theodoret, 
(i i. c 14— 34,) and Philostorgiufl, (I. il c 1—17.) But the first of 
these writers was too near the scene of action, and :|he others were too 
remote from it. It is singular enough, that the important task of con- 
tinuing the history of the church should have been left for two laymen 
and a heretic. 

^^ Quia etiam tum catechumenus sacramentum fidei merito videretur 
potuisse nescire. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra, 1. il p. 410. 

■• Socrates, L iL c. 2. Sozomen, L iii. c. 18. Athanas. tom. Lp. 818, 
834. He obseryes diat the eunuchs are the natural enemies of the Sm, 
Compare Dr. Jortin*s Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, yoL iy. p. 8 
irith a certain genealogy in Candide, (ch. iy.,) which ends with oiw of 
Uko first companions of Christopher Columbus. 

Digitized by 


A.D. Sd^-Sei.] OF THB ROMAN XMPIRX. 929 

towards tbe Easebian factioD, was insenfiiblj fort^ed by the dei« 
terous ina&agcmeiit of their kaders ; and his victory ov«r the 
tyrant Ma^entius increased his inclinalaon^ as well as ability, 
to employ tiie arms of power in the cause of Arianism. While 
the two armies were engaged in l^e plains of Mursa, and the 
Ikte of the two rivals depended on the diance of war^ the son 
of Gcoistantine passed the anxious moments in a chureh of the 
martyrs under the walk of the city. His spiritual comforter, 
Val^is, the Arian bishop of the diocese, employed the most 
artful precautions tp obtain such early intelligence as might se- 
cure either his favor or his escape. A secret chain of swift and 
trusty messengers informed him of the vicissitudes of the 
battle; and while the courtiers stood trembling round theit 
affirighted master, Valens assured him that the Gallic legiom 
gave way ; and insinuated with some presence of mind, thai 
tiie glorious event had been revealed to him by an angel. The 
grateful emperor ascribed his success to the merits and inter- 
cession of the bishop of Mnrsa, whose fiuth had deserved the 
public and miraculous approbation of Heaven.*^ The Arians, 
who considered as their own the victory of Constantius, pre- 
ferred his glory to that of his father."" Cyril, bishop of Jeru- 
salem, immediately composed .the description of a celestial 
cross, endrckd with a splendid rainbow ; which during the 
festival of Pentecost, about the third hour of the day, had 
appeared over the Mount of Olives, to the edification of the 
devout pilgrims, and the people of tlie holy city.** The size of 
the meteor was gradually magnified ; and the Arian historian 
has ventured to affirm, that it was conspicuous to the two armies 
m the plains of Pannonia ; and that the tyrant, who is pur- 
posely represented as an idolater, fed before the auspicious sign 
of orthodox Christianity .*• 

*' Sulpicius Sererus in Hist. Sacra, 1. ii. p. 405, 406. 

^ Cyril (apud Baron. A. D. 863, No. 26) expressly observes that io 
Uie reign of CoDstontiae, the cross had been fcrand in the bowels of the 
earth ; bat that it had appeared, in the reign of Constantius, in the midst 
of the heavens. This opposition evidently proves, that Cyril was igno- 
rant of the stupendous miracle to which uie conversion of Constantine 
is attributed ; and this ignorance ia the more surprising, since it was no 
more than twelve years after his death that Cyril was consecrated 
Ushop of Jerusalem, by the immediate successor of Eusebius of Csesa* 
rea. See Tillemont, M^m. Eccles. tom. yiii. p. 715. 

'* It is not easy to determine how far the ingenuity of Cyril might 
i^ assisted by some natural appearances of a solar halo. 

*" Philostorgius, 1. iii. c. 26. Tie is followed by the author of the 

Digitized by 


MO THJfi OECLINK AND FAIX [A. D. 337-1(^1 

The Benliments of a judicious stranger, who has impartiaUj 
considered the progress of civil or efOQlesiasti<»l discord, ar« 
always entitled to our notice; and a short passage of Am« 
mianos, who seived in the aroues, and studied the character 
of Constantius, is perhaps of more value than many pages of 
theological invectives. "The Christian reli^on, which, in 
itself" says that moderate historian, " is plain and simple, he 
confounded by the dotage of superstition. Instead jf recon- 
ciling the parties by the weight of his authority, he cherished 
and promulgated, by verbal disputes, the differences whidi his 
vain curiosity had excited. The highways wer& covered with 
troops of bishops galloping from every side to the assemblies, 
which they call synods ; and while they labored to reduce the 
whole sect to their own particular opinions, the public estab- 
lishment of the posts was almost ruined by their hasty and 
repeated journeys.''*^ Our more intimate knowledge of the 
ecclesiastical transactions of the reign of Constantius would 
furnish an ample commentary on this remarkable passage, 
which justifies the rational apprehensions of Athanasius, that 
the restless activity of the clergy, who wandered round the 
empire in search of the true faith, would excite the contempt 
and laughter of the unb^ieving world.*' As soon, as the 
emperor was relieved from the terrors of the civil war, he de- 
voted the leisure of his winter quarters at Aries, Milan, Sirmi- 
am, and Constantinople, to the a